THE WHITE HOUSE HAD INITIALLY PROPOSED COVID-19 BOOSTER SHOTS WOULD BE OFFERED STARTING SEPTEMBER 20. — The White House had initially proposed COVID-19 booster shots would be offered starting September 20.
Two key advisory committees must meet first before it’s determined if and when booster shots will be available for the general population.
It’s really up to the FDA and the CDC to determine the specifics regarding booster shots.
The first meeting is scheduled for this Friday. And it’s the FDA’s ‘Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
This group of independent medical experts will scrutinize the data, and make sure that a third dose is not only safe but also effective. After that, the CDC's committee will meet.
The job of the “Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices" is to make recommendations regarding who should get vaccines and when. There’s no date scheduled yet for this meeting but I expect it’ll be on the heels of the FDA’s meeting. Both of the scientific advisory committees' decisions will be based on current data. Which should tell us if everyone needs a booster shot, or maybe just the elderly.
If we need to wait six months or eight or maybe even longer. I expect that we’ll have the answers regarding boosters in about a week’s time.
The reason why boosters are being considered is based on research that showed that the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines waned over time. Now, there’s a newly published paper that found vaccines continue to be substantially protective when it comes to severe disease and hospitalization.
It concluded that most folks don’t need a booster. With the possible exception of those with weakened immune systems. And yes, two of the authors on this paper are senior FDA vaccine leaders. They were part of an international group of vaccine scientists that analyzed several trials and studies. Now, on the flip side, is Israeli data that shows Pfizer's booster had a dramatic impact.
Israel started their booster program August 1. And so far, the data shows that the risk of severe disease decreased more than 10 times and the risk of infection decreased more than 11 times. So what are we supposed to make of all this information?
The bottom line is that our vaccines work. And it's possible they'll work even better with boosters. But I support and believe in both the FDA and the CDC. I know they’ll look very closely at the current data and make the best decision regarding booster for the American public.