Many Americans are clamoring for a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine after reports of rising numbers of breakthrough infections. Demand only increased after the Biden administration said it would begin offering those shots on September 20.
That plan, which was first announced on August 18, has raised eyebrows because it comes in advance of regulatory reviews by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those reviews are needed to determine whether third doses of these vaccines are effective or even safe.
The move could have important legal ramifications for doctors and patients too: Physicians who give extra doses of the vaccine before the FDA and CDC have signed off may be in violation of practitioner agreements with the federal government and might not be covered by the federal PREP Act, which was enacted in 2005 and provides immunity from lawsuits for people who administer COVID-19 vaccines and compensates patients in the event of injury.
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