COVID-19 booster shots recommended for all, could begin Sept. 20, U.S. health officials say

The plan, spurred by the spread of the Delta variant, calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

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Pharmacy resident Rona Jin prepares to administer a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at Mount Sinai Hospital in December.

Pharmacy resident Rona Jin prepares to administer a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at Mount Sinai Hospital in December 2020.

Ashlee Rezin García/Archivo Sun-Times

U.S. health officials recommended Wednesday that 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.

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The plan, 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 also probably will need extra shots. But they are awaiting more data and have yet to work out the details.

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

Health officials said it’s “very clear” 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.”

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