The Biden administration is reportedly in agreement that the majority of Americans should receive a COVID-19 booster shot eight months after becoming fully vaccinated, according to a Tuesday CNN report.
The report is a stark contrast to federal health officials' previous position, in which they said that the general population did not need booster shots.
What are the details?
CNN reported that the Biden administration is purportedly discussing agreements for a booster-shot plan, which would begin in mid- to late September, pending FDA authorization.
Pfizer and BioNTech, which worked together to develop a first COVID-19 vaccine, have reportedly submitted initial data to the FDA to support the plan to make available COVID-19 booster doses.
The plan, CNN noted, could be announced as early as this week.
"Given that healthcare workers and nursing home patients were first to receive their shots, the administration currently expects they'll be the first to receive boosters as well," the report noted. "Older populations who were also at the front of the line for first vaccinations would be next, the source said. This is the current booster plan for those who got vaccines with two doses. Officials are still gathering data for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine. Experts currently anticipate that those who received J&J will need booster shots as well, but they will make that decision once they have more data, a source familiar with discussions told CNN."
Last week, the FDA authorized third doses of an initial two-dose vaccine for immunocompromised Americans. The Centers for Disease Control followed up the FDA's announcement by endorsing the third jab.
In their recent research, Pfizer and BioNTech agreed that a third dose "elicited a significantly higher antibody response against the initial strain of coronavirus, as well as the Delta and Beta variants, compared with what was seen among people who got two doses."
The company in a statement added, "Given the high levels of immune responses observed, a booster dose given within 6 to 12 months after the primary vaccination schedule may help maintain a high level of protection against COVID-19."
Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, added, "This initial data indicate that we may preserve and even exceed the high levels of protection against the wild-type virus and relevant variants using a third dose of our vaccine. A booster vaccine could help reduce infection and disease rates in people who have previously been vaccinated and better control the spread of virus variants during the coming season."
'Delta changed everything'
In July, researchers reported that Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine would not require a second or booster shot of the vaccine.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have said that their two-dose vaccines are protective for at least six months following the series of shots.
According to the Washington Post, the move is a near about-face from senior administration officials who in recent months said it was "far too toon to conclude that Americans would need booster shots."
Indeed, in July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA issued a joint statement that read in part, "Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time."
The Post noted that the White House on Monday night declined to comment on the reports.
"I think Delta changed everything," one person reportedly familiar with the plan said.