Scientists have heavily criticized the Biden administration’s push to widely distribute Covid-19 vaccine booster shots in the U.S. next month, saying the data provided by federal health officials on Wednesday wasn’t compelling enough to recommend third shots to most of the American population.
U.S. health leaders say they are preparing to offer booster shots to all eligible Americans beginning the week of Sept. 20. The plan, announced Wednesday by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, among other health officials, calls for a third dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer and Modern vaccines.
The group of officials cited three new studies, released by the CDC, that showed protection against Covid following vaccination diminished over several months. A study by the Mayo Clinic showed that Pfizer’s vaccine efficacy fell from around 76% to 42% while Moderna’s declined from 86% to 76%.
But scientists and other health experts said the data they cited wasn’t compelling, characterizing the administration’s push for boosters as premature. While the data did suggest there was a reduction in protection against mild and moderate disease, the two-dose vaccines still held up well against severe disease and hospitalizations, scientists said.