As federal officials announced plans Wednesday to make COVID-19 vaccine booster shots available to all Americans as soon as next month, Gov. Charlie Baker says he is a little “bummed” about not getting a heads up from the White House.
During an appearance Wednesday on GBH’s “Boston Public Radio,” the Massachusetts governor said he is an “enthusiastic supporter” of moving “aggressively” to provide booster shots to individuals most at risk to COVID-19. However, he expressed disappointment that federal officials weren’t more forthcoming with information about the program during a biweekly call Tuesday with governors across the country just hours before the news broke.
“No one said anything about announcing a program for boosters,” Baker said.
“First time I heard about it was I got home last night and saw the news,” he continued. “So, I have no guidance, all right, even though we spent an hour on the phone yesterday with all the people who probably knew something about what this is all about, which really bums me out.”
Top health officials in President Joe Biden’s administration announced Wednesday that they are preparing to offer booster shots to individuals starting eight months after their second doses and beginning as soon as the week Sept. 20, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
The plan comes amid evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines’ protection against mild to moderate illness begins to decline over time, as well as the dominance of the more infectious delta variant.
“Based on our latest assessment, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death could diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout,” federal officials said Wednesday.
According to Baker, the call Tuesday with White House officials touched on prioritizing boosters for Americans who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and who received the vaccine early on in the initial rollout, such as the elderly, individuals in long-term care facilities, and others in congregate care settings.
“Once we know more from the feds, about what they’re thinking about in terms of timing and and all the rest, we will move very aggressively to make sure that those who are eligible to get boosters get them, and especially those who were part of those communities that got it first the last time because they’re with the most at risk,” Baker said.
“But I’m kind of bummed about the fact that I found out about this last night when we were all on the phone with those guys yesterday morning,” he added.
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