US officials say vaccinated don’t need booster right now

WASHINGTON: US health officials, after meeting with vaccine maker Pfizer, reiterated on Monday that Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need to get a booster shot at this time, a spokesperson for the health and human services department said.
Pfizer said last week it planned to ask US regulators to authorize a booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine, based on evidence of greater risk of infection six months after inoculation and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
HHS officials had a briefing from Pfizer on Monday regarding their latest, preliminary data on vaccinations and will continue to discuss when and if booster shots will be needed in the future, the spokesperson said.
Pfizer said it planned to publish “more definitive data” in a peer-reviewed journal.
“Both Pfizer and the US government share a sense of urgency in staying ahead of the virus that causes Covid-19, and we also agree that the scientific data will dictate next steps in the rigorous regulatory process that we always follow,” said Pfizer spokesperson Sharon Castillo.
On Thursday, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins touted a study showing that people who received the Pfizer or Moderna Inc vaccines may not need another shot “for quite some time, unless SARS-CoV-2 evolves into new forms or variants that can evade this vaccine-induced immunity.”
A top CDC scientist also said more study is needed to determine whether additional shots could raise people’s risk of serious side effects.
The spread of the Delta variant, first detected in India and now the dominant form of new coronavirus infections in many countries, has raised concerns over whether available vaccines offer enough protection. Several experts say a booster shot would be warranted if there is a substantial increase in hospitalizations or deaths among vaccinated people.
For its part, the World Health Organization said on Monday that rich countries should not order booster shots for their vaccinated populations while other countries have yet to receive Covid-19 vaccines.

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