White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says the federal definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ will remain the same as booster shots become widely available and this year’s COVID-19 death toll grows to more than twice last year’s.
‘Fully vaccinated right now, by definition, is the original two doses with the MRNA and the Pfizer and Moderna and a single dose with J&J,’ Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s This Week.
The health official clarified the term as the governors of Connecticut and Massachusetts say they now consider an extra shot, given two to six months after the initial course – to be necessary for full protection.
‘We’re going to see what the durability of that protection is, and as we always do, you just follow and let the data guide your policy and let the data guide your recommendations,’ Fauci added.
His comments come as COVID-19’s death toll surpasses last year’s by more than double – topping 770,800 on Saturday compared to last year’s total of 385,343.
White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says ‘fully vaccinated’ still means just two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or one of the Johnson & Johnson shot
Boosters shots were approved for everyone over 18 on Friday. Pfizer’s booster is a third dose, while Moderna’s is a half-dose. The Johnson & Johnson booster is one extra shot
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control formally recommended booster shots for everyone over the age of 18.
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that there were no safety concerns with mix-and-match booster approaches, meaning J&J recipients can safely get an MRNA vaccine booster.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 11-0 that those aged 18 to 49 ‘may’ get a booster, while those aged 50 and older ‘should’ get a booster. The FDA authorized the shots on the same day.
Pfizer’s booster shot is a third dose of a two-shot vaccine and Moderna’s is half the dose. The Johnson & Johnson booster is an extra shot of the single-dose vaccine.
Those who got an MRNA vaccine – Pfizer or Moderna – can be boosted six months after their second shot. Johnson & Johnson recipients need only wait two months.
Experts say this year’s high death toll is compounded by the highly contagious Delta variant and low vaccination rates in certain communities, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Slightly less than 60 percent of the total US population is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Almost 70 percent of people have at least one dose, including children ages 5 to 11, who were approved to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last month.
Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she believes being fully vaccinated means regular shots plus a booster
Last week, Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, also a Democrat, said ‘if you were vaccinated more than six months ago, you’re not fully vaccinated’
Despite the rising death toll and the difficulty of getting the vaccine in the arms of skeptics, Fauci said fully vaccinated people should have no problem enjoying the upcoming holiday season.
‘If you’re vaccinated – and hopefully, you’ll be boosted, too – and your family is, you can enjoy a typical Thanksgiving meal or Thanksgiving holiday with your family,’ Fauci said.
‘The thing we are concerned about is the people who are not vaccinated, because what they’re doing is, they’re the major source of the dynamics of the infection in the community. And the higher the level of dynamics of infection, the more everyone is at risk.’
COVID deaths in the US are now more than double what they were last year, with experts citing the highly contagious Delta variant and vaccine skepticism in certain communities
On Wednesday, Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she believes being fully vaccinated means three shots and she pushed for all adults in her state who are eligible to get their boosters, according to the Associated Press.
Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, also a Democrat, shared a similar view a day later.
‘We’re 11 months into the vaccination program. In my view, if you were vaccinated more than six months ago, you’re not fully vaccinated,’ he said, according to WVIT.
‘If you were vaccinated more than six months ago, now is the time and go get that booster. I urge you to get it now.’
Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase says discussions are underway about changing the definition of what it means to be fully vaccinated and that he expects a new public health order to be rolled out in the coming weeks.