WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The Biden administration announced Wednesday a recommendation that every American receive a booster shot 8 months after receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The new recommendation will go into effect for the general public Sept. 20, and booster shots are already available for those with compromised immune systems.
Those expected to be eligible for a booster shot in the coming weeks are those who need the shot for a immune boost but currently have full protection. It will most likely include those who received the shot in December such as health care workers, nursing home residents and older Americans.
In a statement, health officials said it is “very clear” that the vaccines’ protection against infection wanes over time, and now, with the highly contagious delta variant spreading rapidly, “we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease.”
“Based on our latest assessment, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death could diminish in the months ahead,” they said.
The delta variant of COVID-19 has spread rapidly across the U.S., especially areas with lower vaccination rates. A Reuters tally estimates that 42 people died an hour of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Currently cases are averaging 769 a day, the highest since mid-April when the vaccine was opened to the general public.
Health officials have speculated throughout the U.S.’ COVID-19 vaccination campaign about the possibility of encouraging booster shots. They are a common measure used for other vaccines since protection decreases over time.
Researchers and health experts have stressed that the vaccines do provide strong protection against the delta variant. The majority of those suffering severe illness from the delta variant are unvaccinated Americans.
Overall vaccination rates have increased with the delta variant’s rise. Currently, 59.8% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and 50.8% have at least one dose according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
While governments and businesses initially offered incentives such as cash and prizes for getting vaccinated, the surge in cases has caused some companies and states to mandate vaccines if workers want to keep their jobs and not face routine testing.