Booster Shots Hitch: Some May Miss Planned Sept. 20 Start
The FDA and CDC are awaiting critical data before signing off on the third doses, with Moderna’s vaccine increasingly seen as unlikely to make the Sept. 20 date.
President Joe Biden’s plans to start delivery of booster shots by Sept. 20 for most Americans who received COVID-19 vaccines are facing new complications that could delay the availability for those who received the Moderna vaccine.
Biden announced last month that his administration was preparing to administer boosters for all Americans who received most vaccines in an effort to provide more enduring protection against the coronavirus, pending approvals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
But those agencies are awaiting critical data before signing off on the third doses, with Moderna’s vaccine increasingly seen as unlikely to make the Sept. 20 date.
According to one official, Moderna produced inadequate data for the FDA and CDC to recommend the third dose of its vaccine and FDA has requested additional data that is likely to delay those boosters into October.
Pfizer, which is further along in the review process, in part because of data collected from the vaccine’s use in Israel, is still expected to be approved for a third dose for all by Sept. 20. A key FDA panel is to review Pfizer’s data on boosters on Sept. 17.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that it is still the Biden administration’s plan “in some respects” to begin the third doses the week of Sept. 20, pending approval by the FDA.
The administration had hoped that both Pfizer and Moderna booster shots would be rolled out at that time. But Fauci said it is “conceivable” that for Moderna’s, there might be “at most a couple of weeks, a few weeks delay, if any,” while the company provides more data to the FDA on the booster’s efficacy.
Biden on Aug. 18 touted boosters as a protection against the virus’ more transmissible delta variant, and said Americans should consider getting a booster eight months after their second shot.
Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, said Sunday the administration had always made clear that Sept. 20 was a target date, and “No one’s going to get boosters until the FDA says they’re approved.”
Klain told CNN: “We’re ready to go once the science says go.”