The nation’s foremost infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, defended President Biden’s decision last month to announce the availability of Covid booster shots before regulators were given the opportunity to comment. He also advised those who have received the vaccine to wait until they are eligible for an additional shot before getting one.
A vote Friday by an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration recommended that those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine get a booster dose if they are over the age of 65 or are at high risk of developing severe Covid-19. Dr. Fauci’s comments on three Sunday morning news shows followed the vote. The group suggested a more restrictive strategy than that advocated by Vice President Joe Biden earlier this summer, in which he said that beginning on Sept. 20, all Americans who had been fully vaccinated would be eligible for booster shots eight months after their last dosage.
The members of the panel determined that there was not yet sufficient evidence to suggest the additional doses for younger, healthier individuals, given evidence that the vaccination continued to protect against serious illness and mortality in that population.
The Food and Drug Administration is anticipated to reach a judgement on boosters within the next few days. When it comes to its advisory panels, it generally adopts their recommendations, although it is not obliged to do so.
Mr. Biden’s statement alarmed officials at the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.), since it came before the agency had reviewed the data to determine whether the injections were necessary. Two senior vaccination officials stated shortly after that they would be leaving the agency in the autumn, in part because of the controversy.
Additionally, Dr. Fauci urged Americans to be patient and to wait until they are eligible for an additional injection, noting that data on whether an additional shot of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines was required will be available in just a few weeks, according to Dr. Fauci.