CDC, FDA chiefs push back on White House COVID-19 booster plan: NYT

In the weeks since the Biden administration rolled out its plan to start giving COVID-19 boosters in September, medical experts have questioned the science behind the campaign and the morality of giving third doses when many in the world haven't gotten a first dose. Now, top federal health officials are pushing back, The New York Times reports.

In a meeting with White House pandemic coordinator Jeffrey Zients, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Rochelle Walensky, M.D., and acting FDA chief Janet Woodcock, M.D., suggested that the administration scale back its booster campaign for now, according to the newspaper.

Specifically, the officials said their agencies may soon be in a position to recommend boosters for the Pfizer and BioNTech shot, but their reviews of boosters for the other COVID-19 vaccines are further off. Pfizer's shot is set for an FDA advisory committee meeting on Sept. 17, while Moderna only recently submitted its booster application and Johnson & Johnson hasn't yet taken that step.

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In addition, it isn't clear who will be appropriate for booster doses right away, the officials reportedly told Zients. 

A White House spokesman told the NYT that the administration "always said we would follow the science, and this is all part of a process that is now underway."

RELATED: White House rolls out COVID-19 booster plan, but the FDA and CDC have yet to have their say

Last month, amid a COVID-19 surge fueled by the delta variant, President Joe Biden and officials said the U.S. planned to start administering vaccine boosters from the week of Sept. 20, pending sign-offs from health agencies. But health officials are still working through the tough debate, prompting some experts to criticize the administration for moving too fast.

In addition, the World Health Organization and others have blasted developed nations for giving booster doses while many in developing countries don't yet have access to shots.