The Biden administration does not have the necessary funds to purchase a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot for everyone, officials told The Washington Post.

Why it matters: Scientists continue to debate the need for a fourth COVID-19 shot. But the U.S. government can’t buy those fourth shots from vaccine developers for every American.

Driving the news: Officials said the government has secured enough doses for Americans age 65 and older to get a fourth shot, as well for children under 5 to get their first vaccine doses, per The Washington Post.

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Yes, but: The government can’t guarantee the fourth shot for every American because it doesn’t have funding to do so.

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What they’re saying: “Right now, we don’t have enough money for fourth doses, if they’re called for,” White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said on an episode of “In The Bubble with Andy Slavitt.”

  • “We don’t have the funding, if we were to need a variant-specific vaccine in the future.”

The bigger picture: Scientists and experts continue to debate whether everyone will need a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot, especially as natural immunity has risen among the population.

What they’re saying: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CBS’ “Face the Nation” earlier this month that the fourth shot is “necessary.”

Yes, but: A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot doesn’t do much to stop an infection from the coronavirus, but it can stop severe COVID-19 symptoms.

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