Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said Tuesday that new data from Israel on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines over time is causing US health leaders to rethink their position on booster shots, CNBC reported.
“The people who got immunized in January are the ones that are now having more breakthrough cases," Collins said on "The Hugh Hewitt Show." Israel released data on Monday showing a reduction in the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine against severe illness among people 65 and older who were fully vaccinated in January or February.
Collins said the rise in breakthrough cases in Israel is likely due to a combination of the delta variant and vaccine protection waning over time.
The comments come as federal health officials are expected to recommend that most people in the US who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations should get booster shots eight months after their second doses.
The guidance, which would apply only to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, could go into effect as early as mid-September, pending FDA authorization, said a person familiar with the discussions.
The New York Times reported Monday that federal health officials are particularly concerned about data from Israel. The data reportedly showed that for people vaccinated in January who are age 65 and older, the Pfizer vaccine was less than 55% effective against severe disease and hospitalization.
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