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This is when you’ll need your third COVID-19 shot

President Biden and his administration will reveal when Americans will need a third COVID-19 vaccine booster shot

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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine vials at Weber State University in Ogden.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine vials sit on a table at a vaccination clinic at the Shepherd Union Atrium at Weber State University in Ogden on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The Biden administration is expected to announce that all fully vaccinated Americans will soon need third COVID-19 booster shots, with those jabs being released beginning in the middle of September, according to The New York Times.

When do you need a third COVID-19 shot?

People will likely need a third COVID-19 booster shot eight months after they received their second shot, sources told The New York Times.

  • These new COVID-19 shots will likely begin being distributed in mid-September.
  • Officials are planning to announce the decision sometime this week.
  • However, the Food and Drug Administration will need to authorize additional shots before they’re released.

Why do we need third shots?

Public health officials are worried about the delta variant of the novel coronavirus, which has shown to be more transmissible among fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike.

  • “Their goal is to let Americans who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines know now that they will need additional protection against the delta variant that is causing caseloads to surge across much of the nation,” according to The New York Times.

Why are they announcing third shots now?

The U.S. has been mulling over whether or not to give third COVID-19 shots to elderly people, per The Associated Press. Public health officials have been monitoring daily COVID-19 case numbers as they’ve worked to decide whether elderly people should be allowed to get a booster shot.

U.S. health officials have been looking at Israel as well, which “has been offering a coronavirus booster to people over 60 who were already vaccinated more than five months ago,” per The Associated Press.

  • The Israel results have concerned officials, though, as recent data showed that “the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s protection against severe disease has fallen significantly for elderly people who got their second shot in January or February,” per The New York Times.
  • Experts told The New York Times that the Israel data showed “continued erosion of the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine against mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 infections in general and against severe disease among the elderly who were vaccinated early in the year.”

Less than one week ago, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine shot for people with weakened immune systems, which I wrote about for the Deseret News.

  • Transplant patients, those who have diseases like cancer and those with HIV/AIDS immediately qualified for the third shot, per the CDC.

Do third COVID-19 shots work?

It’s unclear since there’s limited data. But officials have looked toward Israel to see how the third shot is impacting the COVID-19 surge.

  • In fact, at least 14 people in Israel who got their third shot were still infected with COVID-19 earlier this summer, The Times of Israel reports. It remains unclear if the third dose will specifically provide additional protection against the delta variant or other variants, or if it just offers additional antibodies to keep people safe from earlier mutations.