People who are fully vaccinated do not need Covid-19 boosters, health and medical officials said Thursday.
“We are prepared for booster doses if and when science shows they are necessary,” the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a joint statement.
The agencies said those vaccinated are protected from variants, including the rising delta variant. But they urged Americans aged 12 and over who have not yet been vaccinated to get their shots fired.
“People who have not been vaccinated are at risk. Nearly all Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among those who have not been vaccinated,”
The virus has killed more than 4 million people around the world in the year and a half since it was declared a pandemic. The United States leads the world with the highest reported number of deaths, more than 600,000, followed by Brazil and India.
Pfizer said Thursday it would seek U.S. permission for a third dose of its vaccine, saying a second shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity.
Research shows that two doses of mRNA vaccines provide strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant.
U.S. agencies said they are continuing to investigate vaccines and possible boosters.
The FDA, CDC and National Institutes of Health “are involved in a scientific and rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster may be needed,” the groups said in their statement. “This process takes into account laboratory data, clinical trial data and cohort data – which may include data from specific pharmaceutical companies but are not solely dependent on this data. We will continue to review new data as it becomes available and will remain publicly informed.”
Among American adults, 67 percent are at least partially vaccinated, and 47 percent of the total population are fully vaccinated.
President Joe Biden continues to push for more Americans to be vaccinated.
“We can not be complacent now,” he said this week. “You can do this. Let’s finish the job.”
Biden has said his administration will shift its focus from mass vaccination sites to a smaller, more community-based approach to try to reach those who are still holding on to the shots.
The Delta variant, which is more transmissible and has been linked to more serious illness in younger adults, is now the dominant strain in the United States, the CDC said last week.
As of Saturday, it accounted for 51.7 percent of the new Covid-19 cases genetically sequenced in the country. Two weeks earlier, on June 19, the variant accounted for more than 30 percent of new cases.