Worried about a vulnerable population as the Delta variant surges, administration officials are taking a new tack.

By Apoorva Mandavilli

The Food and Drug Administration is speeding efforts to authorize extra doses of the coronavirus vaccines for Americans with weakened immune systems, a change that reflects a growing concern within the Biden administration about these vulnerable patients as the contagious Delta variant surges nationwide.

The regulatory move would mean that people with impaired immune responses who need an extra shot, such as certain cancer patients, would be able to get one legally. That is a safer alternative than patients seeking shots on their own, as many now do, several experts said.

“The data are unequivocal that they have not gotten a good response to begin with” and need additional doses, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, lead medical adviser to the White House on the pandemic, said in an interview on Friday.

Compared with other Americans, “there is much, much more of a compelling reason to do that sooner rather than later,” he said.

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