HHS Statement on COVID-19 Booster Shots

On August 18, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a statement on the Administration’s plan for COVID-19 booster shots for the American people. In the statement, medical experts observed that protection against COVID-19 wanes over time following initial doses of the vaccine, especially in those who are considered high risk or those who were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout. HHS announced that a booster shot will be necessary to prolong vaccine protection against the virus and will begin offering booster shots this fall based on FDA and CDC evaluation:

“We are prepared to offer booster shots for all Americans beginning the week of September 20 and starting 8 months after an individual’s second dose. At that time, the individuals who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout, including many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors, will likely be eligible for a booster. We would also begin efforts to deliver booster shots directly to residents of long-term care facilities at that time, given the distribution of vaccines to this population early in the vaccine rollout and the continued increased risk that COVID-19 poses to them.”

The statement also highlighted that more data is expected from the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine in the next few weeks. After data is collected, HHS will inform the public on a plan for the J&J booster shot as well.

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