Biden Administration Recommends COVID-19 Booster Shots for Most Americans
On Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, President Joe Biden’s administration recommended that most Americans receive a booster shot eight months after their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine—an effort influenced by the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
Booster shots may become available as soon as Sept. 20, according to the government. An additional booster shot is currently recommended for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Individuals will get a booster of the same vaccine brand as they initially received. Trials are still being conducted for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to determine if a booster is needed, but health authorities expect it will be.
“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. For that reason, we conclude that a booster shot will be needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability.
– U.S. health authorities
Many experts are unsurprised by this news; it was long predicted that COVID-19 might become akin to the flu, requiring inoculation once a year or so.
Many Americans received their second dose of vaccine months ago, when everyone (over the age of 12) became eligible to receive one in the spring. Some people were fully vaccinated even before then. This means these individuals will likely want to get their boosters as soon as they’re available.
However, it’s unclear when exactly that will be—certain people are likely to be prioritized, which may delay boosters for others. The first round of boosters is expected to go to critical populations, including those aged 65 and older, nursing home residents and health care workers.
Employers should stay tuned for developing vaccine guidance and availability.