A campaign to provide all Americans with a third dose of Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID vaccines will be launched from the end of September, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday. They are concerned about the decline in immune protection offered by vaccines over time and the volatile situation with the presence of the Delta variant.

Americans who have received one of these vaccines will be able to request a third injection eight months after the second, from the week of September 20, they detailed.

This booster dose campaign, however, remains subject to the authorization of an additional dose of these two vaccines by the United States Medicines Agency (FDA).

“The available data clearly show that the protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection begins to decline over time after the first doses of vaccine”, justified in a statement senior officials, including the director of the Centers for prevention and of Disease Control (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, Acting Chief of the United States Drugs Agency (FDA), Janet Woodcock, and White House Pandemic Advisor Anthony Fauci.

“We are concerned that this observed trend of decline will continue in the months to come, which could lead to a decrease in protection against severe cases of illness, hospitalizations and death,” explained the Chief Medical Officer of the States. -United, Vivek Murthy.

This concern is based on data from abroad, including Israel, where “an aggravation of infections, over time, in vaccinated people”.

The effectiveness of vaccines remains for the moment “relatively high” against hospitalizations and deaths in the United States, however reassured Mr.me Walensky, presenting data from several studies.

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However, some experts were critical of the decision on Wednesday: “I still do not understand why the government is implementing additional doses for the general population,” wrote on Twitter Céline Gounder, specialist in infectious diseases at the Bellevue Hospital Center in New York. “Protection against hospitalizations is always excellent. “

Vaccine inequalities

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday denounced the rush of rich countries to the third dose of the vaccine and argued that the data did not demonstrate the need for a booster dose immediately. “We believe the current data does not indicate that boosters are necessary,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a press conference.

From a “moral and ethical” point of view, it is also not good in his eyes that rich countries inject a third dose “when the rest of the world is waiting for their first injection”.

Inject a 3e dose now amounts to “distributing additional life jackets to people who already have one, while we let other people drown without any life jacket,” said the WHO emergency director on Wednesday, Mike Ryan, during the press conference.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on leaders to look beyond “narrow nationalist goals”.

“We’re going to do both: protect the American people and do more to help immunize the world,” White House pandemic coordinator Jeff Zients promised Wednesday. He said the first of the 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine promised by the United States to poor countries had started to be sent “this week”.

The United States is expected to reach 200 million people on Wednesday who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, Zients said. This represents about 60% of the American population.

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Washington originally ordered 300 million doses of the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, but an additional 200 million doses were recently purchased from the two companies – enough to conduct this recall campaign.

Elderly people first

The first people to be able to benefit from this additional dose will be “residents of retirement homes”, “other elderly people” and “many health professionals”, who were the first categories of the population to be vaccinated in the past. United States. The first injections of messenger RNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) took place in December 2020 in this country.

A booster dose will also be “probably necessary” for people who have received a single injection of Johnson’s vaccine, a minority in the United States (nearly 14 million), according to health authorities. But vaccinations with this vaccine did not begin “until March 2021”, and data concerning them are expected “in the coming weeks”.

As of last week, some immunocompromised people can already get a third dose in the United States.

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