Fauci says it's likely only Pfizer vaccine will be used at outset of booster campaign

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  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said the Pfizer vaccine would likely be approved for use as a booster by September 20.

  • But approval for the Moderna vaccine will likely come after, creating a snag in the White House booster rollout.

  • "We've said right from the very beginning, we're not going to do anything unless it gets the appropriate FDA regulatory approval," Fauci said.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that the Pfizer COVID-19 would likely be the only vaccine used at the outset of the US booster shot effort starting later this month.

The Biden administration in August announced its plan to begin the rollout of COVID-19 booster shots to fully vaccinated individuals on September 20. The current plan is to offer boosters eight months after individuals received their last shot, as Insider previously reported. In the US about 52% of people are fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Initially, officials said they hoped that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines would be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for booster shots by September 20, while research about a booster shot for those who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine continued.

"We were hoping that we would get both the candidates - both products - Moderna and Pfizer rolled out by the week of the 20th. It is conceivable that we will only have one of them out, but the other will likely follow soon thereafter," Fauci said Sunday on CBS News' "Face the Nation."

But Fauci said it was likely the Pfizer vaccine, but not the Moderna vaccine, would gain authorization for the booster shots through the US Food and Drug Administration by September 20, the White House's target date.

"We've said right from the very beginning, we're not going to do anything unless it gets the appropriate FDA regulatory approval and then the recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices," Fauci said.

He said it looked like Pfizer had their data in time to meet the deadline.

"We hope that Moderna would also be able to do it so we could do it simultaneously, but if not, we'll do it sequentially. So the bottom line is very likely, at least part of the plan will be implemented, but ultimately the entire plan will be."

The push for booster shots comes as the US last week closed in on 39 million confirmed coronavirus infections since the start of the outbreak last year, or almost 12% of the population.

Also Sunday, Fauci said studies were ongoing about whether an individual who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines would be able to mix-and-match and receive a Pfizer booster instead. For now, he said those who received a Pfizer shot should receive a Pfizer booster, and individuals who received the Moderna shots should wait for the Moderna booster to become available.

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