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With real-time data streaming in from highly specialized researchers in the U.S. and abroad, NIH scientists became convinced that boosting the covid-19 vaccine was needed to save lives, prompting the president to announce a plan with a Sept. 20 start date. Scientists at the regulatory agencies weren’t yet convinced. A meeting Friday will determine what happens next. Here’s the story from behind the scenes.

Anthony Fauci is one of the nation’s most trusted voices during public health emergencies. As the head of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, Fauci has helped guide the nation through the HIV/AIDS epidemic and more recent outbreaks of Ebola and Zika. In this special episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast, Fauci sits down with KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal to talk about how to navigate the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic and what the incoming Biden administration should do first.