The Biden administration is reportedly considering a plan that would let all adults seek a second COVID-19 booster.
Persons older than 50 have been eligible for additional shots for months, alongside the medically frail. But the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t authorized another booster for younger Americans since November, sparking concerns about waning immunity in the face of fast-moving variants known as BA.4 and BA.5 that have the ability to evade some prior immunity.
Members of the White House COVID-19 team support an expansion of the booster campaign, pending discussions with the FDA, according to reports on CNN and in The New York Times.
The administration is holding a briefing on the state of the pandemic response early Tuesday.
Moves to authorize a fourth shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines would spark a debate about whether they are truly needed, or if the government is simply providing the option amid fears about variants that fueled a 17% rise in U.S. hospitalizations over the past two weeks.
Authorizing boosters now might also undercut the drive to reformulate the boosters by fall so people get shots that target omicron and its sublineages.
It’s also unclear how many Americans would get another shot. Just shy of half of Americans have received one booster and only around a quarter of those over 50 and eligible for a second booster have gotten one, according to federal data.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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