Colorado Gov. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisColorado Gov. Jared Polis makes history marrying long-time partner Marlon Reis Biden expresses confidence on climate in renewable energy visit Obamas, Bushes and Clintons joining new effort to help Afghan refugees MORE (D) on Monday called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve booster shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine and authorize vaccinations for children ages 5-11.
“The benefits outweigh the costs overwhelmingly,” Polis said during a news conference, The Colorado Sun reported. “The FDA needs to get out of their ivory tower and realize there is a real-life pandemic with 900 hospitalizations in Colorado, tens of thousands across the country. We have the ability to end it. We need to show the will to end it.”
“At the very least, the FDA should get out of the way and allow people to make this choice to protect themselves,” the Colorado governor said.
His remarks came in response to a reporter's question about a paper published in The Lancet medical journal by two outgoing FDA vaccine regulators — Marion Gruber and Philip Krause — who argued that boosters were unnecessary.
Polis said “we can all celebrate” that the two officials who co-authored the piece are leaving the agency.
“They have blood on their hands and there are thousands of Americans that are dead today because of their delays on the booster shot,” he said.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, around 75 percent of eligible residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 69 percent are fully vaccinated.
The Biden administration has said it aims to start administering COVID-19 booster shots with Pfizer's vaccine beginning Sept. 20.
"The available data make very clear that protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection begins to decrease over time following the initial doses of vaccination, and in association with the dominance of the Delta variant, we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease," White House health officials said in a statement last month.
At the beginning of September, Moderna began the data submission process for its own booster shot.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) criticized plans to administer booster shots in wealthy countries as many low- and middle-income countries struggle to vaccinate their own populations.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly called for a moratorium on booster shots until the end of the year.
"We have been calling for vaccine equity from the beginning, not after the richest countries have been taken care of," Tedros said during a news conference last week. "I will not stay silent when companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers."