U.S. Officials Prepare to Distribute COVID Boosters

Lindsay Kalter

August 12, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Federal health officials said they “have supply and are prepared” to give all U.S. residents COVID-19 boosters -- which, as of now, are likely to be authorized first only for immunocompromised people.

The FDA is expected to greenlight boosters within the next day for people with weakened immune systems, like organ transplant recipients or those who have had cancer treatments. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Friday, after the FDA’s decision, White House COVID-19 officials say.

“We believe sooner or later you will need a booster,” Anthony Fauci, MD, said at a news briefing Thursday. “Right now, we are evaluating this on a day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month basis.”

He added: “Right at this moment, apart from the immunocompromised -- elderly or not elderly -- people do not need a booster.” But, he said, “We’re preparing for the eventuality of doing that.”

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said officials “have supply and are prepared” to at some point provide widespread access to boosters.

The immunocompromised population is very small -- less than 3% of adults, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD.

“The CDC is meeting tomorrow to discuss this issue,” she said. “We look forward to that discussion and to helping support this vulnerable population.”

Meanwhile, COVID-19 rates continue to rise. Walensky reported that the 7-day average of daily cases is 132,384 -- an increase of 24% from the previous week. Average daily hospitalizations are up 31%, at 9,700, and deaths are up to 452 -- an increase of 22%.

In the past week, Florida has had more COVID-19 cases than the 30 states with the lowest case rates combined, Zients said. Florida and Texas alone have accounted for nearly 40% of new hospitalizations across the country.

SOURCE:

White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing, Aug. 12, 2021.

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