WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 Reuters : The United States is ready to roll out COVID vaccination booster shots next week, but will do so only if health regulators approve the plan, White House officials said on Friday.
In August, President Joe Biden said the government would provide boosters in the week of Sept. 20 to address the highly transmitted vaccine immunity and waning Delta variant.
We've been working with our partners, our governors, state and local health officials, federal pharmacy programs, the community health centers to ensure that we are ready for next week, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zientz said at a briefing.
However, some health officials, other countries and vaccine makers say boosters are needed, many experts disagree, including two top scientists from the Food and Drug Administration who will leave the agency later this year.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told reporters boosters will be available once FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approve the plan. Critics claim the Biden administration's booster plan is pushing scientists to get ahead of their evaluations or putting pressure on them.
We have always said that this independent plan would be contingent on the FDA and the CDC's initial evaluation. We will follow that evaluation and their recommendations. "We will make sure our final plan reflects it, he said.
Murthy was among eight top health officials including the FDA and CDC chiefs who have said that boosters are necessary.
A panel of independent experts to the FDA is debating whether Americans should get a booster dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and was set to vote later on Friday.
The CDC's advisory committee on Immunization Practices will meet next week to discuss boosters.