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CDC: COVID-19 booster shots recommended for all after 8 months

18August 2021

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The plan calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

WASHINGTON —  U.S. health officials Wednesday recommended all Americans get COVID-19 booster shots to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and evidence that the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling.

The plan, as outlined by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top authorities, calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The doses could begin the week of Sept. 20.

Health officials said people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also probably need extra shots. But they said they are awaiting more data and have yet to work out a plan.

The plan is still awaiting a Food and Drug Administration evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose, the officials said.

In a statement, health officials said it is “very clear” that the vaccines’ protection against infection wanes over time, and now, with the highly contagious delta variant spreading rapidly, “we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease.”

“Based on our latest assessment, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death could diminish in the months ahead,” they said.

How do I get a COVID booster shot?

Currently, only Americans at high risk from COVID-19 because of severely weakened immune systems are allowed to get a third vaccination in hopes of better protection. This includes transplant recipients and other similarly immune-compromised patients who can get a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Technically, the people who are able to get a third vaccination right now are not getting a “booster.” That’s because boosters are for people whose immunity wanes over time and these high-risk groups didn’t get enough protection to begin with.

Are booster shots available now?

Not yet. The CDC plan calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The doses could begin the week of Sept. 20.

Will Johnson and Johnson have a booster shot?

Probably. 

Health officials said people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also probably need extra shots. But they said they are awaiting more data and have yet to work out the details.

What’s the criteria for COVID booster?

Once the CDC and FDA approve the plan, booster shots will be recommended for all Americans, eight months after their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna. 

Right now, the third vaccinations that are being given are only for those with severely weakened immune systems and again, those are technically not boosters.

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