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Vivek Murthy. Photo: Samuel Corum/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the United States can administer COVID-19 booster shots to Americans while still assisting in the global vaccination effort.

Why it matters: Administering third doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to Americans while many countries struggle with vaccine shortages poses ethical concerns.

  • Experts have also warned that uneven global distribution of the vaccines helps lead to the mutation of more dangerous variants of the virus.

The big picture: Host Martha Raddatz pointed out criticism of booster shots from the World Health Organization, and Murthy acknowledged the imperativeness of vaccinating both the U.S. and global populations, reports The Hill.

  • "We have to protect American lives and we have to help vaccinate the world because that is the only way this pandemic ends," Murthy reiterated on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.
  • Murthy acknowledged that giving Americans boosters could "take away" from the global vaccine supply but emphasized that the U.S. has been working to bolster the global vaccine supply and production in recent months to ensure this isn't the case.
  • "We have to work on both fronts, that is the only way the pandemic will end," he said.

State of play: Last week, the Biden administration unveiled plans to administer 3rd doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines starting Sept. 20.

  • Formal plans for Johnson & Johnson booster shots haven't been revealed yet, though Murthy told "This Week" that Americans who received a J&j vaccine "will likely" need boosters as well.
  • Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced that it had shipped and donated more than 110 million coronavirus vaccine doses to over 60 countries.

Go deeper

Oct 26, 2021 - World

Moderna to sell African countries up to 110 million COVID vaccine doses

A nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine at the Oltepesi Dispensary in Kajiado, Kenya. Photo: Patrick Meinhardt/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna announced Tuesday it agreed to sell up to 110 million COVID vaccine doses to African countries, saying it's prepared to deliver 15 million doses in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Why it matters: The additional doses will help African Union member nations that are lagging behind vaccination targets set by the World Health Organization because of vaccine shortages, though the sale comes after Moderna faced criticism for not doing enough to vaccinate the world.

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot — FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds — Moderna says vaccine shows strong immune response in kids
  2. Health: COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought — 96% of Tyson Foods employees vaccinated ahead of mandate deadline — U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers
  3. Politics: Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools — Alabama governor orders state agencies to fight federal vaccine mandate — Axios-Ipsos poll: Confidence in Biden COVID recovery tumbles
  4. Education: Benefits of vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says — Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 26, 2021 - Health

FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-to-11-year-olds

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel Tuesday endorsed a two-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5–11. The final vote was 17 members in favor, with one member abstaining.

Why it matters: While not binding, the decision is a long-awaited step toward getting COVID vaccines in the arms of some of the youngest Americans potentially in time to get many fully vaccinated in advance of the holiday season.