During the White House COVID-19 response team briefing on Wednesday, coordinator Jeff Zients and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy responded affirmatively to a question about the ability of the United States to provide booster shots domestically while at the same time donating vaccines to other countries.
VIVEK MURTHY: Even though this new data affirms that vaccine protection remains high against the worst outcomes of COVID, 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. That is why today, we are announcing our plan to stay ahead of this virus by being prepared to offer COVID-19 booster shots to fully vaccinated adults 18 years and older.
They would be eligible for their booster shot eight months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines. We plan to start this program the week of September 20, 2021. I want to be very clear. This plan is pending the FDA conducting an independent evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issuing a booster dose recommendations based on a thorough review of the evidence.
The plan ensures that people who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination program will be eligible for a booster first. This includes our most vulnerable populations like our health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors. We will also begin delivering booster shots directly to residents of long-term care facilities.