U.S. to Offer Booster Shots From September

The U.S. Government has announced that Americans will be offered booster Covid vaccine doses from September 20th, starting with healthcare workers and older people, saying that the protection from two vaccine doses “decrease[s] over time”. More than a million Americans have already had a booster vaccine, according to federal data, but the roll-out is also being extended due to fears over the Delta variant. The Guardian has more.

The White House is prepared to offer a third booster shot starting on that date to all Americans who completed their initial inoculation at least eight months ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

The White House pandemic response coordinator, Jeff Zients, said the Covid vaccine booster shots will be free for all Americans. “It will be just as easy and convenient to get a booster shot as it is to get a first shot today,” Zients said.

The booster shots initially will be given primarily to healthcare workers, nursing home residents and older people, all of whom were among the first groups to be vaccinated in late 2020 and early 2021, the department said.

Top U.S. health officials said in a joint statement that they based their decision to offer boosters on data showing that the protectiveness of Covid shots currently authorized in the United States begins to diminish in the months after the shots are given.

The officials included Joe Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser, Anthony Fauci, as well as the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.

“The available data make very clear that protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection begins to decrease over time… and in association with the dominance of the Delta variant, we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease,” the officials said.

“We conclude that a booster shot will be needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability,” they added.

The officials said that they expect that people who received Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid vaccine will also need boosters. …

In recent weeks, several other countries have also decided to offer booster shots to older adults as well as people with weak immune systems, including Israel, France and Germany.

The decision announced by the U.S. officials represented a shift from the optimism of health authorities in May in curbing the pandemic when Biden set a goal to vaccinate 70% of American adults with at least one dose by July 4th. That goal was achieved about a month late.

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