Washington: The US will begin administrating COVID-19 booster shots next month as new data shows that vaccine protection wanes over time, top US health officials announced on Wednesday. "We are prepared to offer booster shots for all Americans beginning the week of September 20 and starting 8 months after an individual`s second dose," the officials said in a joint statement.
The statement was signed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and other US health leaders, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The policy will apply to people who have received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and is contingent on authorization from the FDA and a review by CDC`s vaccine advisory committee.
"Based on our latest assessment, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death could diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout," said the officials.
The decision to recommend booster shots came as the US is undergoing a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant. There was also a rise in breakthrough cases - infections in fully vaccinated individuals.
According to the CDC, 72.2 percent of American adults have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 61.8 percent being fully vaccinated.