Israeli data on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness indicates a need for booster shots, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said Tuesday.
Based on the Israeli information, Cooper said booster shots should be encouraged eight months after becoming fully vaccinated. He added the NIH "will have something to announce very shortly about boosters."
"[Israel is] a little bit ahead of us in terms of when delta hit them really hard," Cooper said on The Hugh Hewitt Show. "It's a combination of delta being a particularly nasty variant that's very contagious, and the fact that unsurprisingly, vaccine protection does gradually wane over time.
"In the Israeli data, the people who got immunized in January are the ones that are now having more breakthrough cases."
Cooper said most breakthrough cases are "symptomatic but not serious," and there’s a "little bit of a trend towards some of those requiring hospitalization."
"That's the same thing we're starting to see in the U.S. data, although right now it still looks as though our vaccine protection is working really well," he said. "But we don't want to wait until it's like, 'Oh too late.'"
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that U.S. health experts, as soon as this week, are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose.
The Hill reported that booster shots likely will be controversial. The World Health Organization has called on wealthy countries to wait on giving boosters until more people worldwide, including health care workers in many countries, can receive their first shots.
"THIRD doses for the immunocompromised and [over] 65 is fine; FIRST doses for the rest of the world," tweeted Vin Gupta, an assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
The Biden administration has said there's enough of a vaccine supply to allow for boosters in the U.S. while also donating more than 500 million doses to other countries.
"Basically it does look as if boosters are going to be a good idea," Collins told Hewitt. "But if you start boosting with the people who got their vaccines earliest, you're going to end up vaccinating particularly the nursing homes, the health care providers, the elderly, because they're the ones who got doses first, so it kind of all fits together."
Based on other vaccines, Cooper said people likely should wait six months after becoming fully vaccinated before receiving a COVID booster shot.
"You probably do want to wait at least six months after your initial immunization to give that immune system a chance to mature the diversity of antibodies that it can produce, and then you hit it with the booster," he told Hewitt.
"So if somebody just got their primary immunization, you know, a couple of months ago, I don’t think this is the right moment for that booster. That will not give them the same effect."
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