US health officials are getting ready to deliver booster shots for COVID-19 vaccines starting in September, citing evidence that the effectiveness of the initial two-dose vaccines begins to decline after a time, in addition to concerns about the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus. The plan is to have people get the booster shots eight months after they received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; as with regular coronavirus vaccinations, the booster shots will be free of charge and widely available.

For now, no booster is yet recommended for people who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine,, as research is still being done on how and when a booster for the J&J vaccine may be needed. But since the J&J vaccine was rolled out in March, people who received it aren't as close to that eight-month window yet. Health officials said once the data's ready, "we will keep the public informed with a timely plan for J&J booster shots as well," most likely in the next few weeks, which in the Biden era actually means in the next few weeks.


Health officials emphasized that the vaccines people have already received still provide good protection against serious illness or death. The boosters aim to increase the degree of protection, especially against the Delta variant, which is very nasty.

It's now "very clear" that immunity starts to fall after the initial two doses, and with the dominance of the delta variant, "we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease," according to the statement signed by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and other U.S. health leaders.

"Based on our latest assessment, 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."

In a briefing on the vaccine booster plan yesterday, the officials cited research from several US and overseas health systems showing that over time, breakthrough infections become more frequent in people who are fully vaccinated, although so far there hasn't been any increase in serious cases, hospitalizations, or deaths among the earliest US recipients of the vaccines.

The boosters are being rolled out to make sure that doesn't happen, as NPR reports:

"We know that even highly effective vaccines become less effective over time," U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said at the briefing. "It is now our clinical judgment that the time to lay out a plan for COVID-19 boosters is now." [...]

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden's chief medical advisor, also presented recent evidence showing that a third shot of either mRNA vaccine greatly increased antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Fauci underlined that people who are already vaccinated shouldn't worry that their protection against the virus is wearing off. The goal of preparing for booster shots now is to "stay one step ahead of the virus" well in advance:

It has been an almost reproducible phenomenon with COVID-19. If you wait for something bad to happen before you respond to it, you find yourselves considerably behind. Better stay ahead of it than chasing after it.

The first rounds of booster shots are likely to be made available September 20, pending FDA approval, which is expected. Because of the timeline on which people received their first two shots, that means the earliest booster shots will mostly be going to medical workers, people in nursing homes, and other essential workers, plus those three jerks who cut in line before their age group was supposed to get vaccinated, the jerks.

There should be no such scramble to get in line for vaccines this time around, since vaccine production has ramped up in the US and there are plenty of doses available. Remember, we still have far too many Americans who haven't gotten vaccinated at all.

In response to criticism that the US should be concentrating on sending vaccines to the rest of the world instead of trying to get Americans to get a third jab, President Biden said yesterday there will be enough doses for both needs:

"We can take care of America and help the world at the same time," the President said in his remarks Wednesday. He pointed out that the U.S. has already donated 115 million doses to efforts abroad — more than "every other country in the world combined" — and has pledged to send more than 600 million vaccines in total to other countries.

Also too, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins advises that while "ideally" people should get a third shot of whichever vaccine they received earlier, "if for some reason you don't have access to it, well, then get the other one."

Now if we could just get boosted protection from anti-vax idiots.

[CNBC / NPR / AP]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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