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Key data on U.S. J&J, Moderna COVID-19 boosters ‘weeks away,’ Fauci says By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease expert, responds in a testimony before Senator Rand Paul (R.KY) at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., U.S., on July 20, 2021. J. S

By Chris Prentice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Data needed to determine the advisability of booster shots of the Moderna (NASDAQ:) Inc and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:) COVID-19 vaccines is just weeks away, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said on Sunday, as officials signaled they expected boosters would be recommended for a broad swath of Americans.

Already, U.S. regulators have started to look at a third dose for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday recommended a third shot of the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for people age 65 and older or at high risk of severe COVID-19, but declined to endorse boosters for the wider population.

People who have received the two-dose Moderna vaccine or one-dose J&J vaccine are still awaiting guidance on possible booster shots.

“The actual data that we’ll get (on) that third shot for the Moderna and second shot for the J&J is literally a couple to a few weeks away,” Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert and a Biden adviser, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.

Fauci stated that they are currently working to send the FDA the data so they can review it and determine if boosters should be given to those individuals.

Fauci stated that more data could also indicate a greater need for booster shots in the U.S. general population.

United States is the leader in COVID-19-related deaths and COVID-19 incidences. Nearly 676,000 people have died during the pandemic in the United States, figures compiled by Reuters showed. The U.S. has seen an increase in cases and deaths over the past months, particularly in those areas that have low vaccination rates. Federal health officials urge vaccine skeptics to receive their shots.

People 16-years and older, who had received at least six months prior to their last shot of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, were not recommended a third dose by FDA experts. Although the FDA will not be bound by this recommendation, they will consider it when considering whether or not to recommend another round.

Fauci said that “this is not the end of the tale” on CNN’s “State of the Union”.

Fauci said, “They’re going continue to look at it literally in real-time.”

Biden announced in August the government’s intention to roll out booster shots for people age 16 and older, pending approval by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts.

Fauci stated that the FDA’s decision does not change White House support for boosters.

Fauci suggested that boosters be approved for only those who are not in the FDA recommended group.

Francis Collins, the director of U.S. National Institutes of Health stated on Fox News Sunday that it was likely that boosters will be “become obvious over the next couple of weeks that administration of boosts may need to enlarged,” citing data from Israel and the United States that shows a decline in vaccine effectiveness.

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