U.S. health officials, after meeting with vaccine maker Pfizer, reiterated on Monday that Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need to get a booster shot, a spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said.
Pfizer said last week it planned to ask U.S. regulators to authorize a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, based on evidence of greater risk of infection six months after inoculation and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
HHS officials had a briefing from Pfizer on Monday regarding their latest, preliminary data on vaccinations and will continue to discuss when and if booster shots will be needed in the future, the spokesperson said.
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Pfizer said it planned to publish “more definitive data” in a peer-reviewed journal.
“Both Pfizer and the U.S. government share a sense of urgency in staying ahead of the virus that causes COVID-19, and we also agree that the scientific data will dictate next steps in the rigorous regulatory process that we always follow,” said Pfizer spokesperson Sharon Castillo.
The spread of the Delta variant, first detected in India and now the dominant form of new coronavirus infections in many countries, has raised concerns over whether available vaccines offer enough protection. Several experts say a booster shot would be warranted if there is a substantial increase in hospitalizations or deaths among vaccinated people.
For its part, the World Health Organization said on Monday that rich countries should not order booster shots for their vaccinated populations while other countries have yet to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)