The leading expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, responds to allegations made by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, the United States, on July 20, 2021 .
J. Scott Applewhite | Reuters
The US will likely begin distributing Pfizer Covid-19 booster vaccinations widely in the week of September 20, but Moderna’s vaccine rollout could be delayed, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Officer of the White House, on Sunday.
The Biden government has announced plans to offer people who received the Pfizer and Moderna shots a third dose pending approval from health officials. The US recommends an additional injection eight months after the second dose.
Only the Pfizer Vaccine Booster can gain Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approval in time for launch the week of September 20, Fauci said on CBS’s Face the Nation. People who have received Moderna shots may have to wait longer as the company awaits regulatory approval for a third dose.
“Looks like Pfizer has its data, will likely meet the deadline,” the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases told CBS. “We hope Moderna could do that too, so we could do it at the same time.”
“But if not, we’ll do it one at a time,” he continued. “So the bottom line is that at least part of the plan is very likely to be implemented, but ultimately the entire plan will be implemented.”
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Later on Sunday, Fauci told CNN that for people who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, “it is better to wait for a third dose of Moderna” than to get an injection from Pfizer. He pointed out that the US plans to release data on mixing vaccines from different manufacturers in the coming weeks.
The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is the most widely used vaccine in the United States. According to CDC data, more than 95 million people have received the full two-shot regimen.
Around 66 million people are fully vaccinated with the Moderna syringe. Approximately 14 million people have now received the single dose from Johnson & Johnson. Regulators haven’t announced any plans for a J&J booster.
When calling for third doses of Pfizer and Moderna, US health officials cited CDC data which found that protection against infection waned several months after the second injection. According to the CDC, more than 1.3 million people received an extra vaccination after the US approved it for certain immunocompromised people.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that the government will have booster vaccinations “ready for use” when regulators approve them for wider use.
An FDA advisory panel will review Pfizer’s application for a booster vaccination on September 17, just three days before the injections are due to begin.
The Biden government’s booster plan has sparked criticism in the US and around the world. The World Health Organization has urged wealthy countries with higher vaccination rates to withhold additional vaccinations until poorer countries can give more people their first doses of vaccine.
The spread of the virus around the world increases the prospect of new – and potentially more dangerous – variants.
The White House has defended its booster plan, citing US donations of vaccine doses to other countries. Last month, Fauci told CNBC that the US had given 120 million doses to 80 countries.
“We do both,” he said of vaccinating Americans and people around the world.
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