ATLANTA, Georgia: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's infectious disease expert, saysd Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster doses will likely obtain official regulatory approval, but Moderna's booster could take longer to approve.
Asked about President Joe Biden's goal of offering booster shots from 20th September on CBS' "Face the Nation, Fauci said "in some respects" that remained the plan.
But while Pfizer-BioNTech already submitted the required information to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Moderna has not yet completed the process, Fauci added, expressing his hope that both vaccines will be available when the booster program begins.
However, if Moderna does not complete the process before 30th September, its booster doses will become available later, he noted.
Moderna and the FDA have not responded to emails asking for comment, but in a statement released on Wednesday, Moderna said it "initiated its submission" to the FDA.
As COVID-19 continues to cause the deaths of unvaccinated people worldwide, how or whether to give booster doses has become a controversial issue.
Current and former FDA scientists and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel members told Reuters the Biden administration's announcement in August on offering booster shots to Americans in September overrode the FDA's and CDC's process for deciding on such issues.
The level of additional immunity given by boosters and whether all Americans should get them, rather than just high risk cases, are still being debated by scientists.
Fauci stressed that both types of vaccine boosters are considered safe, but the FDA and other officials wish to study additional data.
"When you are deciding on allowing the American public to receive an intervention, you want to make sure you are absolutely certain," Fauci said.