Biden administration chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci is defending President Joe Biden’s decision to announce that vaccine booster shots would be available for most Americans by Sept. 20 despite no indication that key regulators would approve them in time.
During several morning news shows on Sept. 19, Fauci urged fully vaccinated Americans not to get a booster shot, or a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, until they’re eligible. This comes after the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) vaccine advisory panel voted to recommend against providing Pfizer boosters to the general public but recommended the shots for Americans aged 65 and older, dealing a blow to the White House’s booster plan.
Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, told “Meet the Press” that Biden’s plan was always contingent on authorization by the FDA.
“I think people are not understanding the difference of planning for something and actually what element of that, what proportion of it, you’re actually going to roll out,” he said. “And that’s exactly what happened.”
Americans who are vaccinated and are waiting for a third shot need to remain patient, Fauci said. Meanwhile, data from the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines are still needed.
“We’re working on that right now to get the data to the FDA, so they can examine it and make a determination about the boosters for those people,” he said. “They’re not being left behind, by any means.”
It isn’t clear when a final FDA decision could come on booster doses for those aged 65 and up, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has scheduled a meeting next week to distribute boosters around the United States.
Echoing his call for patience during a CNN interview, Fauci on Sept. 19 responded to a question about Americans getting booster shots without being authorized. He said they should “abide by the recommendation” that was handed down by the FDA advisory panel.