U.S. experts are likely to recommend booster shots for COVID-19 for all Americans regardless of age, according to sources familiar with the matter. On conditions of anonymity two sources told The Associated Press that booster shots should begin by fall as per internal deliberations. The booster shots are expected to be available after the FDA authorizes the vaccines. They are currently authorized under emergency use authorization.
Federal health officials have been looking into the approval of booster shots after the spread of the delta variant as well as after studies conducted in Israel showed that those who were vaccinated in January had less protection against serious illnesses and booster shots could ramp up protection.
Last week, booster shots were approved for the immunocompromised as they had small or negligible amounts of antibodies after two doses. As the delta variant spread rapidly in July, the FDA and CDC decided to recommend a third dose to this vulnerable population which includes
- those who have had an organ transplant
- those who have cancer
- those who have HIV..
Now, the federal agencies are looking to widen the range of those who will receive booster shorts after a period of eight months, beginning this fall. It is reported that the initial recipients would be health care workers, residents of nursing homes as well as older Americans who were among the first ones to get vaccinated in December 2020 and January 2021.
On Sunday, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins said that within two weeks, a decision might be taken by federal agencies on the feasibility of booster shots of COVID-19 for the general population in the nation.
Although a huge majority of the COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant are among the unvaccinated, there are breakthrough cases among the vaccinated and a booster shot might decrease breakthrough cases and prevent the spread of possible newer variants as nobody knows when the next mutation could arrive, nor can they predict its transmission rate or its severity.