US will allow COVID vax boosters for adults next month. But is it the right time?

An elderly woman receives a booster shot of her vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at an assisted living facility, in Netanya, Israel January 19, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo.

The Biden administration today encouraged booster shots for people who got the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations. “Starting the week of Sept. 20, fully-vaccinated adults could begin getting their booster shots eight months after their second shot of an mRNA vaccine,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. 

“I think a lot of people say, ‘You don't have to wait for the house to catch on fire, why don't you have a fire extinguisher on hand?’ … That's kind of why the booster recommendation is going to the nursing home population,” says Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, UCSF professor of medicine who specializes in treating infectious diseases. 

However, he asks if it’s too early for the rest of us to get boosters. “It may have repercussions for optics, for confusion in people, for reprioritization of a super vaccinated country … and then another part of the country is super unvaccinated. That's kind of where we are going to be.”