Health authorities in many of these countries, and now in the United States, see booster shots as a way to strengthen the defense against a tough enemy and gain the upper hand in the pandemic. France, for example, has imposed booster shots on those over the age of 65 who want a health pass that allows access to public arenas.
“See what other countries are doing now to launch a booster campaign for virtually everyone,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the Biden administration’s top Covid adviser, said Tuesday at a conference sponsored by Stat, the medical news publication. “I think if we do, and we do it seriously, I think by spring we can have pretty good control over this.”[ads1];
In the United States, infections have increased by 33 percent on average over the past two weeks, to 94,000 a day. The CDC’s decision landed just as Americans were preparing to spend the holidays with family and friends, gatherings that are likely to accelerate the trend.
The shots can help prevent at least some infections, especially in older adults and those with certain health conditions. But many experts, including some who advise federal agencies, are skeptical that boosters alone can reverse the trend.
It is unlikely that the extra shots will be of great benefit to adults under the age of 65, who are still protected from serious illness and hospitalization at the first vaccination, the experts said.
“Overall protection remains high for serious illness and hospitalization,” Dr. Sara Oliver, an epidemiologist at the CDC, told a scientific advisory meeting on Friday.
In addition, tens of millions of Americans have not even received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. In the United States, as in Europe, deep pockets of vaccine-resistant adults are likely to prolong the pandemic, no matter how well-protected their neighbors are.