Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

U.S. to start offering COVID-19 booster shots to all Americans beginning Sept. 20

The Biden administration is planning to start offering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all Americans beginning next month. 

Health officials said Wednesday that "we have developed a plan" to begin offering "booster shots for all Americans beginning the week of September 20 and starting 8 months after an individual's second dose." Those Americans who received a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna earliest, such as nursing home residents, are expected to be eligible for a booster at that point subject to approval from the FDA and CDC, the announcement said. 

Additionally, the health officials said that they anticipate booster shots will "likely" be needed for those who received Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine, though because this vaccine didn't begin to be administered in the United States until March 2021, officials will "keep the public informed with a timely plan for J&J booster shots" after receiving more data in the coming weeks.  

The plan comes after the Food and Drug Administration recently approved a booster shot for immunocompromised people amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 and amid concerns "that the vaccine may start to wane in its effectiveness," as National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins explained. The health officials said Wednesday the COVID-19 vaccines "continue to be remarkably effective," including against the Delta variant, but data suggests that "current protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death could diminish in the months ahead." Booster shots, the officials said, will therefore be necessary to "maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability."