Sep 3, 2021 - Health

White House may scale back COVID-19 vaccine booster plan

A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine during a vaccination event in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.

Photo: Andi Rice/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top government health officials are warning the White House to scale back a plan to offer coronavirus booster shots beginning Sept. 20, contending that regulators need more time to collect and review necessary data for a third dose, sources confirm to Axios.

Why it matters: Officials are now weighing whether the plan will have to be modified as the Delta variant makes up for the majority of COVID-19 cases in U.S. and hospitals fill up with coronavirus patients, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: In August, President Biden said the government would offer boosters beginning the week of Sept. 20 to adults who received their shots of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna at least eight months ago.

  • Now, regulators may need more time to decide the proper dosage for a possible third Moderna shot. Pfizer finalized its booster application to the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week, and Moderna has recently initiated its own.
  • The FDA and CDC said their agencies may be able to determine in the coming weeks whether to recommend boosters only for those who received the Pfizer vaccine, the Times reports.

What they're saying: “We always said we would follow the science, and this is all part of a process that is now underway,” White House spokesman Chris Meagher told the Times.

  • “When that approval and recommendation are made we will be ready to implement the plan our nation’s top doctors developed so that we are staying ahead of this virus,” Meagher added.

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