President Joe Biden said U.S. regulators are looking at administering Covid-19 booster shots five months after people finish their primary immunizations, moving up the expected timetable for a third shot by about three months. President Biden, who was speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday, said that after consulting with Dr. Anthony Fauci and his other health advisers, he was considering moving up the timeline for booster shots to 5 months after the second shot, up from 8 months.
“We’re considering the advice you’ve given that we should start earlier,” Biden said, adding that officials are debating whether the timeline should be shorter. “Should it be as little as five months…that’s being discussed.”
NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said last week that the efficacy of COVID vaccines had prompted health leaders to rethink their position on vaccine booster shots. But Twitter users immediately jumped on the announcement, blasting the administration for moving the goalposts once again, and ignoring “the science.”
The negative reaction clearly prompted a rethink, as the White House quickly flip-flopped back to its original position, with the administration insisting there was “no change” in the timeline.
“We are going to start the booster program in mid-September. There’s no change in our timeline.according to a press release,” a senior Biden Admin official told Axios.
Before they can start doling out the booster jabs, the FDA and CDC’s advisory panel, known as ACIP, must approve the third jabs, according to senior Biden administration official told Axios.
However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki clarified Friday that the accelerated timeline for booster jabs likely wouldn’t happen.
“For people watching at home, for you all who are reporting out this, nothing has changed about the eight-month timeline as it relates to the boosters,” Psaki said Friday.
Biden’s talk with the Israeli PM occurred just hours after Israel released new trial data showing that the Pfizer jab is less effective at combating the delta variant than the immunity produced by natural infection.
Scientists have also started to speak out against President Biden’s booster jab plans, arguing that the vaccines would be put to better use by doling them out to emerging economies with far lower vaccination rates before Americans are offered yet another jab.