The administration announced in August that a rollout plan was being put in place for booster shots that would be initiated Sept. 20, but also specified that the plan itself was pending recommendations from the FDA. The people eligible for a booster would be those who received their second dose eight months earlier. The latest guidance from the FDA has led to some confusion over whether a booster shot is necessary for everyone.
“It would surprise me if it does not become clear over the next few weeks that the administration of boosters may need to be enlarged based upon the data that we’ve already seen both in the U.S. and in Israel,” Collins said.
Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also argued that the plan initially announced by the White House is in line with the advisory panel’s recommendation. Ultimately, he thinks the “proper regimen” will include the original two shots plus a booster for everyone, though it may not be necessary right now.
“You want to do that according to what the data tells you, including the risk-benefit ratio, particularly for the younger people who do not generally get as much severe disease as the elderly and others,” Fauci said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.“ “So, I believe that there’s a good chance that as we get into the coming months, into the next year, that you will see the data pointing to the benefit of having a much broader blanket of people.”
Collins, on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said that the guidance will continue to evolve. “This is the way it ought to be. Science sort of playing out in a very transparent way, looking at the data coming from multiple places, our country, other countries and trying to make the best decision for right now. That’s what they did.”
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Fauci noted that all plans are subject to “continual reexamination“ as data accumulates on Covid-19 and the vaccines.
Both Collins and Fauci pointed largely to the data that suggests the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine is beginning to wane but the need for a booster would first go to those at greatest risk. Fauci also noted that the data on the Moderna — which has completed an application for a booster — and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will continue to be submitted to the FDA for review.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel will meet this week to put out guidelines for the booster’s administration.