COVID-19: US sticks to recommendation of booster shot; Israel extended it to 12 years and above


WASHINGTON: The US is sticking to its recommendation for Americans to get a COVID-19 booster shot eight months after receiving the vaccine, the government’s top infectious disease expert says but will be open to change based on developed data.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says there is ‘no doubt’ in his mind that people given the highly contagious delta variant will need to get an additional shot after receiving the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

He indicated that the administration is focusing on doing so “expedited” and “feasible” after the eight-month mark, with dosing starting the week of September 20, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

President Joe Biden suggested on Friday that his administration was considering giving a booster shot up to five months after vaccination, citing advice from the Israeli prime minister.

But on Sunday, Fauci said of the eight-month U.S. guidance, “We’re not changing that, but we’re very open to new data as it comes. We’re going to be very flexible about that.”

Fauci spoke on ABC’s “This Week,” CNN’s “State of the Union” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Israel has expanded its coronavirus booster shot program to include more than 12 people.

The decision, approved on Sunday, is the latest phase of a booster program that began last month with more than 60 Israelis.

It was expanded in phases over several weeks to people ages 50, 40 and 30.

About two million people, which is more than 20 percent of the country’s nearly nine million people, have received the third dose.

Israel was one of the first countries to vaccinate its population earlier this year, allowing the government to lift almost all restrictions on public activities.

But it now has one of the highest rates of infection in the world, due to the rapid spread of the delta variant, even among vaccinations, and has reinstated mask mandates and limits on crowd size.

Israel approved the booster program after experts found the vaccine’s effectiveness waned over time.

It is now offering a booster to anyone who was vaccinated five months ago.

Preliminary data has indicated that the booster is slowing the spread of the delta variant and preventing severe disease between vaccinations.

“The third vaccination is in the works,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said as he appealed to the public to get vaccinated.

“There are already consequences: the increase in serious morbidity is starting to slow down. However, the peak of the campaign is still ahead of us.”

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