COVID boosters may risk more serious side effects - CDC

JAY BUTLER: “The question about boosters is one that is being intensively reviewed…”

U.S. health officials on Tuesday said the U.S. is reviewing the need for a third COVID-19 booster shot among those who have already been vaccinated but needs to see more data to know if additional shots could raise people's risk of serious side effects.

During a media briefing, Jay Butler, the deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there is concern that a third dose could potentially come with even greater risks.

JAY BUTLER:“The risk of some of the rare side effects that have been reported have been greater after the second dose and even just the local reactions, which are fairly common, are more common after second doses as well… So we're keenly interested in knowing whether or not a third dose may be associated with any higher risk of adverse reactions, particularly some of those more severe, although very rare, side effects.”

Pfizer says it plans to ask U.S. regulators to authorize a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, based on evidence of greater risk of infection six months after inoculation and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

But officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said after a meeting Monday with Pfizer that they don't see the need at this time for a booster.

Butler from the CDC said on Tuesday he has not seen any evidence of waning immunity to COVID-19 among U.S residents who received shots in December or January and that existing vaccines provide significant protection against the Delta variant.

Health officials could get some real-world data soon.

Israel on Sunday began offering a third dose of Pfizer vaccine to adults who are immunocompromised but said it was still weighing whether to make the booster available to the general public after new infections have risen amid the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

Back at the White House, the Biden administration is trying to focus efforts on getting shots into the arms of Americans who have been vaccinated at all, especially young people.

To that end - pop star Olivia Rodrigo will visit President Joe Biden and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci at the White House on Wednesday to record videos encouraging Americans to get their shots.

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