The Biden administration has decided most Americans should get a COVID vaccine booster dose eight months after they received their second shot, despite consensus among U.S. health experts last month there wasn’t enough data to recommend boosters for the general population.
Officials are planning to announce the decision as early as this week and a third dose could be offered as early as mid-September, according to administration officials familiar with the discussions.
Doses would only begin to be administered widely once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formally approves the vaccines — an action expected to happen for the Pfizer vaccine within weeks.
The administration’s goal is to let Americans who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines know they will need additional protection against the Delta variant responsible for the surge of U.S. COVID cases.
The first boosters are likely to go to nursing home residents, healthcare workers and emergency workers, followed by older people who were near the front of the line when vaccinations began late last year and then the general population.
Federal health officials are waiting for more data before offering guidance for Johnson & Johnsonvaccine recipients. However, officials expect a booster will also be needed.
Read more: US to Recommend Booster Shots for Most Americans (but of course) 8 Months After Second Dose