The first round of Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots are scheduled to be rolled out in one week, but some local public health officials say the effort may not go as planned.
The Biden administration set Sept. 20 as its target date to begin rolling out booster shots for all qualified Americans.
“So this is the first time the Biden administration has had a little discord between politics and science. It’s not a terrible discord, I think everyone is looking at the same destination,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong of UCSF. “I think the discord is in how fast should you do this.”
The Santa Clara County Public Health Department said it's anxious to get started but pointed out Sept. 20 might be unrealistic because a crucial FDA hearing to get public approval for the booster shots won’t happen until Friday and an equally important hearing by the CDC isn’t scheduled until the end of the month.
One of the big concerns is whether the vaccine providers can meet the federal requirements. Right now, only Pfizer recipients would qualify.
"I suppose it’s still possible that they could call an emergency meeting to meet that 20th date but still remains an unknown to us," Santa Clara County Associate Public Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Tong said.
Some people said the potential delay worries them.
"It’s not worth getting your blood pressure up about right now," Tong said. "If you’ve received the initial doses of vaccine, you remain very well protected against severe disease, hospitalization and death."
Public health officials said, thanks to an abundant supply of vaccine and numerous private and health system providers, they don’t expect to run out, but when demand gets high, those getting booster shots will probably need an appointment. Those still seeking their very first shot can still walk in.