White House chief of staff Ron Klain would not give a specific date as to when Covid-19 booster shots would be available to the public but committed to following the science and waiting for full approval from health officials before making a third dose available to those who seek one.
This comes after CNN and other outlets reported that top health officials warned the White House that they need more time to review all the necessary data before they can recommend boosters for all adults, despite an initial announcement last month that boosters for people who had either mRNA Covid-19 vaccine would be available the week of September 20.
“I would be absolutely clear, no one’s going to get boosters until the FDA says they’re approved, until the CDC advisory committee makes a recommendation. What we want to do though is be ready as soon as that comes,” Klain told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday’s “State of the Union.”
“A hundred percent we will wait for FDA approval, we will wait for CDC approval. They will decide which of the vaccines are approved to be used as boosters, they will decide when that approval comes, they will decide who will get it under those approvals. Those are decisions made by FDA and CDC,” he added.
Klain said that even if boosters of both shots don’t receive full approval before September 20, the administration will be ready to distribute them as soon as that date comes, something he said did not happened under the Trump administration when vaccines were initially given emergency use authorization.
“The most important thing we can do here at the White House, what our Covid response team can do, is to make sure that we have bought the boosters, and we have, and that we have a distribution plan so that as soon as the regulators, the scientists say ‘good to go, here’s who needs them, here’s what’s approved,’ they will be available probably the very same day that that approval gets given,” he said.
Klain disputed reporting that some FDA officials weren’t on board with the White House putting out that specific date on when people should expect booster shots, telling Bash that the President and administration have been clear that boosters would only become available after they received full approval.
“The President was very clear when he announced it that it would be subject to FDA and CDC advisory committee approval. So we’ve been very clear from the start that no one’s going to get those booster shots till the FDA says yes, till the CDC advisory committee and ultimately the CDC, the CDC director says yes,” Klain said, adding that officials from both agencies were involved in setting the September 20 target date.
He added that the administration is still hopeful that at least one vaccine is approved for booster shots by that date.
CNN has reported that while the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine booster plan remains on track for the week of September 20, it may take a few weeks longer to move forward with boosters of Moderna’s vaccine.