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Top health officials tell White House to pause vaccine booster plan: Report

DCNFHarry Wilmerding, DCNF

Top U.S. health officials told the White House pandemic coordinator on Thursday to scale back the Biden administration’s plan to administer the coronavirus booster shots to individuals in September, The New York Times reported.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey D. Zients that they need more time to collect and analyze the necessary data relating to the booster shots, The New York Times reported.

The doctors told Zients that their agencies might be able to determine whether to recommend boosters for recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the coming weeks, according to the Times.

The two doctors presented their argument to Zients at a meeting on Thursday. It is unclear how Zients responded to the news.

“We always said we would follow the science, and this is all part of the process that is now underway,” a White House spokesperson said on Friday, according to the Times.

“When that approval and recommendations are made,” White House spokesman Chris Meagher said, “we will be ready to implement the plan our nation’s top doctors developed so that we are staying ahead of the virus.”

The Biden administration last month announced that most Americans should get the vaccination booster eight months after receiving the second shot. The booster shots were planned to be made available by Sept. 20.

“The plan is for every adult to get a booster shot eight months after you got your second shot,” President Joe Biden said on Aug. 18. “It will make you safer, and for longer. And it will help us end the pandemic faster.

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