Vaccinated Americans don’t yet need 3rd dose to ward off delta variant, CDC says
Niva Thakrar, 13, who lost her father to coronavirus, poses at her house in northwestern London, Monday, July 5, 2021. As a way to remember him, she takes the same walks and watches the movies they used to watch together before he died in March after a two-month hospital stay. "I still try to do what we used to do before, but it's not the same," Thakrar said. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Kian Navales poses at home in Quezon city, Philippines, on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, holding a pillow with a photo on it of his late father, Arthur, who died from the coronavirus. Navales, who also had the virus, misses going out for noodles with his dad. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Tshimologo Bonolo, 8, poses for a photograph at her house in Soweto, South Africa, Saturday, June 26, 2021. She lost her father to COVID-19 in July 2020, and is now looked after by her mother and her grandmother. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Zavion Guzman hugs his sister Jazzmyn while playing Wednesday, June 30, 2021, in Belleville, N.J. Lunisol Guzman adopted the two as babies but died last year from COVID-19 along with her partner at the start of the violent first wave of the pandemic in the U.S. Northeast. The children's older sisters now care for them. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Yael Navales poses at home in Quezon city, Philippines, on Tuesday July 6, 2021, with an image of her father, Arthur, who died from the coronavirus. "Our house became quiet and sad. We don't laugh much since papa left," she said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Jae C. Hong
Maggie Catalano, 13, sits for a photo in Riverside County, Calif., Friday, July 2, 2021. Maggie's father, Brian, died of COVID-19 in his home on Dec. 30, 2020. He was 49. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Diego Roman holds his daughter, Victoria Soto, for a photo in Lomas de Zamora, Argentina, Sunday, July 4, 2021. Victoria was born on April, 13, 2021, and her mother, Elizabeth Soto, died from COVID-19 days later. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Kehity Collantes, 6, poses for a picture with her dog, Niña, in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, July 4, 2021. Collantes' mother died from the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Jeshmi Narzary, 10, sits on the stairs of her aunt's house after both her parents died of COVID-19, in Kokrajhar, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Friday, June 25, 2021. Jeshmi was adopted by her mother's sister Phulmati Narzary Goyary. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
Pfizer is about to seek U.S. authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying Thursday that another shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity and maybe help ward off the latest worrisome coronavirus mutant.
But hours after Pfizer’s announcement, U.S. health officials issued a statement saying fully vaccinated Americans don’t need a booster yet.
U.S. health agencies “are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary,” the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a joint statement. That work will include data from the drug companies, “but does not rely on those data exclusively,” and any decision on booster shots would happen only when “the science demonstrates that they are needed,” the agencies said.
Currently only about 48% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated — and some parts of the country have far lower immunization rates, places where the delta variant is surging. On Thursday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said that’s leading to “two truths” — highly immunized swaths of America are getting back to normal while hospitalizations are rising in other places.
Research from multiple countries shows the Pfizer shot and other widely used COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant, which is spreading rapidly around the world and now accounts for most new U.S. infections.
Two doses of most vaccines are critical to develop high levels of virus-fighting antibodies against all versions of the coronavirus, not just the delta variant — and most of the world still is desperate to get those initial protective doses as the pandemic continues to rage.
But antibodies naturally wane over time, so studies also are underway to tell if and when boosters might be needed.
Also Thursday, researchers from France’s Pasteur Institute reported new evidence that full vaccination is critical.