COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Doses Will Be Free, White House Says

Coronavirus vaccine booster doses will be free to the public, a top US health official said Tuesday (May 11). The government, David Kessler, Chief Science Officer for the White House COVID-19 Response Team, said has the funds to cover the cost of a third shot, if they’re needed. 

“We are planning, and I underscore the word planning, to have booster doses available if necessary for the American people,” Kessler said during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee. 

“We do have the funds to purchase the next round, if they are necessary. So we will be able to purchase the next round to ensure if there are boosters, they are free, just like the last round,” he added. 

Whether an annual booster dose will be required has yet to be officially determined though Gary Disbrow, the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, said COVID-19 vaccines could become as prevalent as flu vaccines. 

“Right now we do feel that we will potentially need a boost in the fall for those people, especially those about the age of 65, where you do see a more dramatic waning of immunity than you do in younger people,” Disbrow said in an interview with The Hill. “We’re in the process right now, working with our interagency colleagues as well as the Food and Drug Administration, to determine if we’re going to need potentially annual boosters for any of the potential circulating strains.” 

Inadequate access to the vaccine has contributed to hesitancy among some of the hardest communities, though rates of vaccination have increased in recent months. Churches, local pharmacies, and community organizations have been used to get actual vaccine doses and education to Black communities, as the nation continues to push vaccine rates. 

Photo: Getty Images

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