Authors: HANNAH BLEAU18 Aug 2021
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has demonstrated what has been described as a “worrying drop” in coronavirus vaccine efficacy over time, leading to the Biden administration’s conclusion to push vaccine booster shots.
“This is what moved the needle,” a senior Biden administration official said to Politico of the CDC’s report.
According to the outlet, the data looked at the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines at different points in time and found a “decline in the initial round of protection against Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] infection that’s coincided with a resurgence in cases driven by the more contagious Delta variant.”The data, which the White House Covid-19 task force reviewed Sunday, is expected to become public this week. As a result, the Biden administration is expected to roll out its plan to push booster shots for fully vaccinated Americans, but details are still being worked out, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needs authorize the booster shots. Notably, the FDA has not formally authorized any of the vaccines. Rather, they are all operating under emergency use authorization:
Officials are still finalizing the details of the booster plan, and the government is not expected to begin offering third shots from Pfizer and Moderna until mid-September at the earliest. The Food and Drug Administration must first authorize the booster shots, and the CDC will need to formally recommend that people get them eight months after completing their initial vaccination round.
But the move represents an acceleration of a process that had proceeded cautiously, as officials hunted for clear signs that the vaccines’ immunity was waning.
The plan for now doesn’t call for boosters for recipients of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Federal officials are awaiting results of a study by the drugmaker on the effectiveness of administering two J&J doses.
Last week, the CDC recommended a third vaccine dose for immunocompromised people, coinciding with the FDA’s ruling on the matter.
“Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19,” the FDA’s acting commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement at the time.
Last month, Pfizer officials met with top U.S. health officials to discuss their request for authorization for a third coronavirus shot.