White House defends touting booster-shot plan before FDA approval

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White House defends touting booster-shot plan before FDA approval

The White House on Tuesday said it is moving “aggressively” to roll out booster shots this fall to Americans — despite not yet receiving clearance from the Food and Drug and Administration to give everyone third doses.

Jeff Zients, who is President Biden’s COVID-19 response coordinator, said administration officials met with governors and pharmacy CEOs on Tuesday to prepare them for the move so that they can “hit the ground running” and start giving out the booster shots in September.

“We are acting aggressively to stay ahead of the virus and are planning for booster shots starting the week of September 20 pending FDA and ACIP [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] approval,” Zients said at a COVID-19 press briefing.

“We expect the rule will be simple. Get your booster shot eight months after you got your second shot.”

To date, the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have only given the green light for booster shots for immunocompromised people, who are less likely to develop a sufficient immune response to two doses.

The health agencies said in a joint statement last week that the third shots would be available to Americans this fall, subject to authorization.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said that they are trying to "stay ahead of the virus" with the booster shots.
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said that they are trying to “stay ahead of the virus” with the booster shots.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

Asked whether the Biden administration’s plan was jumping ahead of health officials, Zients insisted that medical experts recommended that they prepare for the boosters.

“Our medical experts laid out last week, having reviewed the data, it was in their clinical judgment the time to lay out a plan for COVID-19 boosters,” Zients said. “We announced our approach in order to stay ahead of this virus [and] give states and pharmacies time to plan.”

“We’ve been planning for every scenario, and we want to make sure we stay ahead of the virus,” he continued.

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