Connecticut is ready to begin administering booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the plan, Gov. Ned Lamont told reporters Wednesday.
Lamont’s comments came after a joint statement from federal public health officials released Wednesday morning, which backed a plan to administer additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine beginning eight months after a patient’s second initial dose.
“We are ready,” Lamont said. “We’ve got the vaccines, we’ve got the distribution ready to go. We’ve got the ability to communicate out to the folks in need. We don’t have a green light yet from the FDA but I expect that to come very soon.”
The current plan applies to patients who have received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. President Joe Biden’s administration anticipates offering a third shot beginning on Sept. 20, following the expected sanction by the FDA. The goal of the booster shots is to stem a gradual reduction in the vaccines’ effectiveness.
“The available data make very clear that protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection begins to decrease over time following the initial doses of vaccination, and in association with the dominance of the Delta variant, we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease,” the joint statement read.
Federal officials said they expected to eventually recommend additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well.
“Our top priority remains staying ahead of the virus and protecting the American people from COVID-19 with safe, effective, and long-lasting vaccines especially in the context of a constantly changing virus and epidemiologic landscape,” the statement said. “We will continue to follow the science on a daily basis, and we are prepared to modify this plan should new data emerge that requires it.”
Lamont said he was not yet sure if the administration of booster shots would require Connecticut to resume some of the mass vaccination sites that have shut down as vaccine uptake has slowed in recent months.
“I got to see how broad it is, how many people we’re talking about, maybe they start out just with folks in nursing homes — makes intuitive sense to me. Or maybe we broaden it to everybody over the age of 65,” Lamont said. “I’ll get back to you on that.”