Chief Medical Advisor to the White House Dr. Anthony Fauci said the United States is on track to administer Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine booster doses every eight months.
On Sunday, Aug. 29, Fauci appeared on the program of mainstream media outlet NBC News, “Meet the Press.” He claimed that the federal government is strongly considering providing COVID-19 booster doses to Americans eight months after they get their last dose of the vaccine. (Related: Scientists warn push for COVID-19 booster shots not based on scientific data; “politics” and profits now driving vaccine policies.)
But after the intervention of President Joe Biden, Fauci agreed that the government can be “flexible” about this issue. While the plan will not change right now, it could be amended soon “based on the data.” Biden reportedly wants Americans to be given booster doses possibly as soon as five months after their last dose.
“We’re still planning on eight months,” said Fauci to “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd. “That was the calculation we made.”
But Fauci added that the country’s public health authorities are “open to any variation” of this timetable “based on the data.”
If the federal government’s plans are not interrupted, the rollout of booster COVID-19 doses could begin as early as the week of Sept. 20.
Later on in the interview, Fauci admitted that the COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. are not very effective. He did this by admitting that he was certain the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require a third dose, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine required a second.
“We were dealing, Chuck, with a total emergency situation,” said Fauci. “If we had the grace to be able to do this in a very slow, measured manner, the phase two study would have given various intervals of dosing.”
“It is entirely conceivable that when all is said and done the standard regime will be a three-dose shot for [Pfizer and Moderna] and a two-dose shot for Johnson & Johnson.”
Fauci tried to rationalize this sudden change by claiming that the country leaders’ priorities are saving lives and not providing the country with accurate data regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.
“We were having to save lives and we needed to do it very quickly. So, I don’t think there was anything errant or wrong in the way we started it with two doses,” he said. “But at least now we’re being very open and flexible that we may need that third dose.”
Biden pushing Fauci to require booster COVID-19 doses
Fauci and other public health officials have outlined a schedule for administering additional COVID-19 doses. Biden has publicly asked these officials if the gap between the booster doses could be shortened. He did this after a visit by the Israeli prime minister.
On Friday, Aug. 27, Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the White House. After receiving advice from the prime minister, Biden asked his health officials to consider if following Israel’s timetable regarding the administering of booster doses is viable.
“We’re considering the advice you’ve given that we should start earlier,” said Biden to Bennett. “Should it be as little as five months? That’s being discussed.”
It should be noted that Israel, one of the world’s most vaccinated countries with 60 percent of its population fully vaccinated, is currently dealing with a massive post-vaccine COVID-19 outbreak. The country recently passed one million total COVID-19 cases, with nearly 11,000 Israelis testing positive on Monday, Aug. 30.
As of Tuesday morning, Israel has over 83,000 active COVID-19 cases, and over 7,000 people have died of COVID-19 there.
The booster doses would have to be first approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The latter is a committee within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that advises vaccination policies.
The push by so-called public health experts and leading Democrats to mandate COVID-19 booster doses has been strongly criticized by many conservatives and Republicans. Notably, former President Trump called the plan a “money-making operation” by Pfizer.
“Think of the money involved,” said Trump in early August. “An extra shot … How good a business is that? If you’re a pure businessman, you’d say, ‘you know what, let’s give them another shot.’ That’s another $10 billion of money coming in. The whole thing is crazy.”
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