US planning for annual COVID-19 booster shots, CDC director says

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, told CNBC May 11 that the U.S. government is planning for potential booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines. 

Officials don't yet know if booster shots will be needed, "but we are planning for it just in case," Dr. Walensky said. 

The CDC director said that if booster shots are needed, the federal government would likely need to make arrangements with drugmakers to supply more doses and plan for their distribution, CNBC reported. 

"Right now, if you have two doses of the mRNA vaccines, you are protected," Dr. Walensky said. "What we're talking about is thinking ahead. What happens if in a year from now or 18 months from now your immunity wanes? That's really our job is to hope for the best and plan for what might happen if we need further boosters in the future, the way we get flu vaccine boosters every year."

She added that scientists are looking at the immunity of the small population of people who were vaccinated months ago. 

Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have all said they're developing booster shots or new versions of their vaccines that will increase protection against the original strain of the virus or against some of the new variants, CNBC reported. 

David Kessler, MD, the Biden administration's COVID-19 response chief science officer, told CNBC that booster shots, if needed, would be free. 

"We do have the funds to purchase the next round and to assure if there are boosters that they are free, just as the last round," Dr. Kessler said. 

Read the full article here.


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