NIH director says it would be a surprise if booster shots aren’t expanded to more people in ‘next few weeks’

coronavirus spike protein
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), holds up a model of the coronavirus.
  • NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said he would be surprised if the general population was not offered booster shots in upcoming weeks.
  • "I will be surprised if boosters are not recommended for people under 65 going forward in the next few weeks," Collins said on "Fox News Sunday."
  • His comments come after an expert pane; for the FDA recommended the third dose for older adults and those most at risk.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said that he would be "surprised" if coronavirus booster shots were not recommended for other Americans in the upcoming weeks.

On Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration expert panel recommended booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine to Americans over 65 and people most vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19. However, the panel voted to reject the third shot to individuals 16 and older, as Insider's Andrew Dunn and Hilary Brueck reported.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," anchor Chris Wallace asked Collins if he thinks the booster shot would be needed for everyone.

"I'm not sure about absolutely everyone. We'll have to see what they say ultimately about the youngest individuals because of concerns about benefits and risks," Collins responded. "But, I will be surprised if boosters are not recommended for people under 65 going forward in the next few weeks. But we'll see."

He continued: "What you're seeing here is science playing out in a very transparent way. This is the way it ought to be. I'm a little troubled that people are complaining that the process isn't working for them. The process is to look at the data, have the experts consider it, and then make their best judgment at that point, recognizing that the judgments may change."

His remarks come amid confusion regarding the shots after the Biden administration announced a plan in August to offer the general population a third booster dose starting on September 20. However, top health officials from the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pushed back on that plan citing the need for additional data.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top disease expert, recommended on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that people receiving the booster shot "go by the guidelines according to the FDA approval and the CDC recommendations."

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