WASHINGTON - National public health officials on Wednesday said COVID vaccine booster shots will be available next month for anyone who has completed both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna innoculations.
The shots will be available on Sept. 20. and must come at least eight months after the second dose shot was administered.
"Recognizing that many vaccines are associated with a reduction in protection over time, we have been analyzing the scientific data closely from the United States and around the world to understand how long this protection will last and how we might maximize this protection," the release from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services noted. "The available data makes very clear that protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection begins to decrease over time following the initial doses of vaccination, and in association with the dominance of the Delta variant, we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease."
The release, authored by a phalanx of health officials from the NIH, FDA, CDC and others including national adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, warns that "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."
While the statement references mostly the two-dose shots, it expects those who got the Johnson and Johnson brand will also likely need boosters.
"We also anticipate booster shots will likely be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. Administration of the J&J vaccine did not begin in the United States till March, and we expect more data on J&J in the next few weeks," the statement reads. "With those data in hand, we will keep the public informed with a timely plan for J&J booster shots as well.