U.S. to start offering COVID vaccine boosters in Sept.

The U.S. government announced on Wednesday that it plans to make COVID-19 vaccine booster shots widely available to fully vaccinated individuals 18 and over starting Sept. 20.

The move comes as COVID infections are on the rise in the U.S. due to the Delta variant, and data shows diminishing protection from the vaccines over time.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy:

“We are concerned that this pattern of decline we are seeing will continue in the months ahead, which could lead to reduced protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death. // If you are fully vaccinated, you still have a high degree of protection from the worst outcomes of COVID-19, severe disease, hospitalization, and death, so we are not recommending that you go out and get a booster today,"

Americans who have completed a two-dose inoculation of the Moderna or Pfizer/BionTech vaccines at least eight months ago will be eligible for the third dose.

But, those who received the single dose Johnson & Johnson will have to wait on a booster for now, as more data is expected in the next few weeks.

Top U.S. health officials said in a joint statement that booster shots initially will focus on healthcare workers, nursing home residents and older people - among the first groups to be vaccinated in late 2020 and early 2021.

According to CDC data, more than 72% of Americans 18 and older have received at least one vaccine dose and nearly 62% are fully vaccinated.

In recent weeks, several other countries also have decided to offer booster shots to older adults as well as people with weak immune systems, including Israel, France and Germany.

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