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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is actively working toward making a recommendation that certain immunocompromised people receive an additional dose of coronavirus vaccine, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Two shots of Pfizer and Moderna's mRNA vaccines don't generate strong levels of protection in some immunocompromised people. But data suggests a third shot could significantly boost their response.

What we're watching: A recommendation is likely to come "very soon," according to a source familiar with internal discussions. A senior Biden official agreed that the recommendation is likely to be issued soon, but said there's no firm timeline.

  • Officials are working to move the recommendation through regulatory steps which involve the Food and Drug Administration. Officials are also working through which conditions will fall under the booster recommendation.

The big picture: Scientists don't agree who should receive booster shots and when, especially as much of the world's population is still waiting for their initial round of shots.

  • But data suggests that the vaccines become less effective against infection over time, and some experts are concerned that efficacy against severe disease will fade over time as well.
  • Some countries have already begun giving a third round of shots to vulnerable populations, and Biden officials see a booster shot among at least some vaccinated Americans as increasingly likely.
  • Some obvious candidates will be nursing home residents and other vulnerable people who received their shots at the beginning of the U.S. vaccination campaign.

What they're saying: "We...are prepared if the FDA decides that they are going to recommend a booster," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday at a briefing.

  • "That is why we ordered the number of doses we did order several months ago, because we are like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and always want to be prepared."

Go deeper

Oct 18, 2021 - Health

Over 30 states have limited officials' public health powers

Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Republican lawmakers in more than 30 U.S. states have weakened health officials' authority to implement policies to protect the public against the coronavirus, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers in all 50 states have introduced bills to curb state and local officials' public health authority.

Oct 18, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Minnesota offers cash and chance at $100K scholarship as vaccine incentive for teens

Expand chart
Data: Minnesota COVID-19 Response; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Minnesota is offering new incentives to shot-wary teens in an effort to boost the state's COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Driving the news: 12 to 17 year olds who get both doses over the next six weeks will receive a $200 Visa gift card, Gov. Tim Walz's administration announced Monday.

  • Kids vaccinated during this period can also enter a lottery for one of five $100,000 scholarships to attend any of the state's public or private colleges or universities.

Why it matters: Public health officials say increasing vaccination rates among young Minnesotans is key to curbing spread of the virus, especially in schools.

California governor declares drought emergency for entire state

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speakinng to reporters in Los Angeles in September. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover the entire state on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures," per a statement from the governor's office. This past August was the driest and hottest one on record, "and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record," the statement added.