The Biden administration on Wednesday announced plans to start administering Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 booster shots next month.

The announcement was made through a joint statement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other top public health officials from the Biden administration such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky; Dr. Janet Woodcock of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy; and President Joe Biden's Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

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Pfizer and Moderna Booster Shots to be Available on September 20

USA Today reported that the said booster shots would be available for adult Americans who received their second dose of Pfizer and Moderna shots at least eight months ago.

"We are prepared to offer booster shots for all Americans beginning the week of September 20 and starting eight months after an individual's second dose," the statement read.

The Biden administration also pointed out that individuals who were fully vaccinated early in the vaccine rollout, including health care providers, nursing home residents, and other senior citizens, would be eligible to get the booster shots of Pfizer and Moderna.

The Biden administration further noted that their "top priority remains staying ahead of the virus and protecting the American people from COVID-19 with safe, effective, and long-lasting vaccines."

President Joe Biden himself also announced the decision provide a third shot to Americans. In his remarks at the White House on Wednesday, Biden said the said booster shots will boost immune system response and increase protection from COVID-19.

"That's the best way to protect ourselves from new variants that could arise," the president noted.

Murthy confirmed that the Pfizer and Moderna booster shots would be available for 18 years old and older for now as officials are still waiting for the FDA review that would provide guidance on vaccinating individuals aged 12 to 17.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said the booster shots would be free, regardless of health insurance or immigration status.

Booster Shots 'Likely Needed' by Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Takers

The Biden administration also said they anticipate that booster shots will also be needed for Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients. 

Murthy said they expect more data on J&J in the coming weeks, and with those data in hand, they will keep the public informed of the timely plan for the brand's booster shots. The J&J single-dose vaccine was not administered in the U.S. until March 2021.

The said booster shots for Pfizer and Moderna were driven by new studies from the CDC released on Wednesday. The studies showed that while mRNA vaccines remain effective against the virus, the protection against SARS-CoV-2 becomes weaker over time.

Walensky noted that a study involving about 10 million people from New York showed a decrease in protection from 92 percent in May to 80 percent in late July.

Fauci also sounded his support on the booster shots. He said a third shot is needed, especially by certain groups such as the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems.

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Written By: Joshua Summers

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