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COVID-19 booster shots are coming, but doctors say you don't need one right now

COVID-19 booster shots aren't yet authorized by the CDC for the general public, but Dr. Anthony Fauci said a program could roll out across the country in two weeks.

HOUSTON — You or someone you know might be considering a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

An estimated one million Americans have already received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but booster shots are not yet authorized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the general public.

Dr. George Delclos, a professor of epidemiology at UTHealth School of Public Health, said the earliest a Food and Drug Administration committee and the CDC could authorize a booster shot is Sept. 20.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said a COVID-19 booster shot program could roll out across the country in two weeks. Americans would be eligible to receive a third shot eight months after they received their second dose.

Right now, the CDC recommends that only people with compromised immune systems get a third dose.

“If you give a booster dose too soon it may not have the intended beneficial effect. So the timing is important,” Delclos said.

With the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant driving up hospitalizations in parts of the country, some might think a booster will protect them from contracting the virus. Delclos said that’s not true.

“The main goal is preventing severe COVID, which we define as the need for hospitalization or dying from it,” Delclos said. “These are very good vaccines.”

Delclos said the hospitalization rate of severe illness for fully vaccinated individuals is very low especially when compared to unvaccinated Americans.

“That is a phenomenal achievement, but we can do better. And we just need to be patient and plot ahead and keep going,” he said.