Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says he is confident COVID-19 vaccine booster shots will be approved for all Americans despite a setback last week.
On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) advisory committee voted 16-2 against recommending authorizing of booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the entire U.S. population.
The panel did later vote to recommend the shots for people aged 65 or older or who are at higher risk of severe illness from Covid.
While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not bound to the advisory board's recommendation, the vote holds a lot of weight and will rarely be gone against.
Despite that, Collins told Fox News Sunday that he was still confident boosters will be approved for younger people in the future.
Dr Francis Collins (pictured) is still confident that COVID-19 vaccine boosters will be available to all Americans despite an FDA advisory board voting against recommending the shots for authorization last week
The FDA advisory board recommended that vaccine boosters be made available for Americans over the age of 65 or with conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus
'I think the big news is that they did approve the initiation of boosters,' Collins said.
'Remember, they're taking a snapshot of right now, we're going to see what happens in the coming weeks. It would surprise me if it does not become clear over the next few weeks that the administration of boosters may need to be enlarged.
'Based upon the data that we've already seen both in the U.S. and in Israel, it's clear that the waning of the effectiveness of those vaccines is a reality and we need to respond to it.'
The White House announced plans to roll out Covid vaccine booster shots to all Americans last month.
The initial plan was to have the shots become available of September 20, this Monday, pending approval from regulators.
Instead, regulators pushed back the target date, with health officials saying they needed more time to make sure of the safety and effectiveness of the shots.
In the time since, many have come out opposing the