US health official says COVID-19 boosters could risk more serious side effects

Coronavirus Vaccine

FILE – In this Friday, March 12, 2021 file photo, a nurse prepare one of the country’s first coronavirus vaccinations, using the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and provided through the global COVAX initiative, at Yaba Mainland hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. Although the AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Europe has been authorized by the continentā€™s drug regulatory agency, the same shot manufactured in India by the worldā€™s biggest vaccine maker has not been given the green light. The EU regulator says the drugmaker hasn’t completed the necessary paperwork on the Indian manufacturing site, including detail on its production practices and quality control standards. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, file)

(Reuters) ā€” The United States is reviewing the need for a thirdĀ COVID-19Ā booster shot among residents who have already been vaccinated but needs to seeĀ moreĀ data to know if additional shotsĀ couldĀ raise people’sĀ riskĀ ofĀ seriousĀ sideĀ effects, aĀ U.S.Ā healthĀ officialĀ said Tuesday.

The official said the second dose for two-shot COVID-19 vaccine regimens was associated with higher rates of side effects, suggesting a third dose could potentially come with even greater risks.

“We’re keenly interested in knowing whether or not a third dose may be associated with any higherĀ riskĀ of adverse reactions, particularly some of thoseĀ moreĀ severe – although very rare –Ā sideĀ effects,” said Jay Butler, deputy director at theĀ U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a media briefing.

The U.S. government has not made a decision on whether to administer booster shots but sees a greater potential need for them among the elderly and other groups at high risk for severe infection, Butler said.

Pfizer and partner BioNTech plan to ask U.S. regulators within weeks to authorize a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, based on evidence of greater risk of infection six months after inoculation and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.

Butler said he has not seen any evidence of waning immunity to COVID-19 among U.S residents who received shots in December or January.

He added that existing shots provide significant protection against the Delta variant ofĀ COVID-19, which was first found in India and has become the dominant strain in the United States.

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