White House says COVID booster shots will also be free

Should COVID-19 booster shots be necessary this year, Americans won’t have to worry about paying for them, according to the White House.

White House COVID-19 Response Team chief science officer David Kessler, speaking to lawmakers Tuesday, said booster shots will be free to anyone who gets them, just as the initial round of vaccines has been.

“We do have the funds to purchase the next round and to assure if there are boosters that they are free just as the last round,” Kessler said.

It’s unclear whether people will have to pay for boosters or updated shots after 2022.

As of now, there has not been any announcement that a booster shot will be required for the COVID-19 vaccine. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though, said Tuesday at a CNBC Summit that they are planning for the need for one “just in case.Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have all announced they are developing booster shots or next-generation versions of their vaccines. It is likely people will need one—and possibly another shot next year, much like the annual flu shot.

The booster shots, should they be recommended, will help protect against new variants of the virus, such as those from South Africa or Brazil.

Pharmaceutical companies are also working quickly on vaccines that don’t require needles (i.e., pills, nasal sprays, or a patch). Those could be ready as early as this year.

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