Nursing home residents and health care workers will most likely be the first to get booster shots, as soon as September, followed by other older people who were vaccinated last winter.
Aug. 16, 2021, 10:22 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has decided that most Americans should get a coronavirus booster shot eight months after they completed their initial vaccination, and could begin offering the extra shots as early as mid-September, according to two administration officials familiar with the discussions.
Officials are planning to announce the administration’s decision as early as this week. Their goal is to let Americans know now that they will need additional protection against the Delta variant that is causing surging caseloads across the nation.
The first boosters are likely to go to nursing home residents and health care workers, followed by other older people who were near the front of the line when vaccinations began late last year. Officials envision giving people the same vaccine they originally received.
Among other worrisome signals, Biden administration officials are particularly concerned about data from Israel suggesting that the Pfizer-BioNTech’s protection against severe disease has fallen significantly for elderly people who were vaccinated in January or February.
Some administration officials have viewed Israel as a kind of template for the United States because it started vaccinating its population sooner. Israel has almost exclusively used the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and it has a nationalized health care system that allows it to systematically track patients.
The latest data from Israel, posted on the government’s website on Monday, shows what some experts describe as continued erosion of the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine over time — both against mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infections in general and against severe disease among the elderly.