Third booster shots are likely on the way, as the Delta variant grows in the U.S.
An announcement supporting the additional shot is expected from White House health officials as early as this week.
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Fully vaccinated Americans are not out of the COVID woods just yet.
The Biden Administration’s health officials are expected to announce that all Americans who received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine should get a booster shot eight months after receiving their second dose to alleviate the chances of contracting the coronavirus.
It was also announced that the booster shots might be available as early as next month.
The boosters will also limit the chances of contracting the Delta variant, a contagious strain that is landing thousands of people in the hospital.
The New York Times reported that an official statement could be issued as early as this week. The new policy will depend on the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of additional shots.
On Monday, Aug. 16, Pfizer and BioNTech announced the submission of initial data to the U.S. FDA to prove that a booster shot will protect citizens against the Delta variant.
"Given the high levels of immune responses observed, a booster dose given within six to 12 months after the primary vaccination schedule may help maintain a high level of protection against COVID-19," the company said in a statement.
Last Thursday, Aug. 12, officials originally said that booster shots will be available for people who are immunodeficient and citizens who have been receiving chemotherapy treatments.
However, it is more likely that boosters will first go to seniors in nursing homes and hospital staff.
“Vaccination is our most effective means of preventing COVID-19 infection – especially severe disease and hospitalization – and its profound impact on protecting lives is indisputable,” said Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer.
The booster shots will be the same vaccines originally given to residents, such as Pfizer and Moderna.
The New York Times also reported that recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a one-time shot, will also require an additional dose.
Dr. Ugur Sahin, the CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, stated that the company is working endlessly to make sure there will be booster shots for all by expanding access to their vaccine.
“We continuously strive to stay at least one step ahead of the virus,” he said. “This initial data indicates that we may preserve and even exceed the high levels of protection against the wild-type virus and relevant variants using a third dose of our vaccine. A booster vaccine could help reduce infection and disease rates in people who have previously been vaccinated and better control the spread of virus variants during the coming season.”
The Delta variant, a strain two times more likely to be contagious, is the main reason why the U.S. is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Just 59.4% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, many Americans still have not received their second dose. In fact, about 72.1% of adults have received only one shot, and 59% of Americans ages 12+ are fully vaccinated, according to the New York Times.