Fauci: Changing the Definition of Fully Vaccinated to Include Booster Shots is “On the Table”

During an interview for the upcoming Reuters Next conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, said that changing what qualifies a person as fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to include booster shots is “on the table.”

“Right now, officially, fully vaccinated equals two shots of the mRNA and one shot of the J&J, but without a doubt that could change. That’s on the table for discussion,” he said.

“We’d like to get as many people who were originally vaccinated with the first regimen boosted,” he continued, adding that he hopes to see the “overwhelming majority” of people get their booster shots.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded eligibility for Covid-19 boosters to all adults.

“After critical scientific evaluation, today’s unanimous decision carefully considered the current state of the pandemic, the latest vaccine effectiveness data over time, and review of safety data from people who have already received a COVID-19 primary vaccine series and booster,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said in a press release.

Booster shots have demonstrated the ability to safely increase people’s protection against infection and severe outcomes and are an important public health tool to strengthen our defenses against the virus as we enter the winter holidays. Based on the compelling evidence, all adults over 18 should now have equitable access to a COVID-19 booster dose,” she added.

Earlier this week, Fauci warned about “prematurely” dropping mask mandates after Washington, D.C. lifted requirements on indoor masking, saying the move “adds an extra degree of risk” as the nation contends with rising cases of Covid-19.

“When you have a dynamic like that … you really gotta be careful,” he said. “Masks are not going to be forever for sure. The more people that get vaccinated, the more people that get boosted, the lower the level of infection in the community will be, and then you start thinking about pulling back on masks.”

“But you don’t want to do it prematurely,” he added. “As much as you’d like to do it, you’ve got to be careful.”

Fauci acknowledged that it’s “tough to predict” when mask mandates can end but noted that the availability of vaccines for 28 million children aged 5 to 11 nationally will help the United States overcome the pandemic.

“If we do a good job in getting the overwhelming majority of that cohort vaccinated, we very well may have a situation where the cases go down and we can say no masks,” he said. “I hope that that’s as we get through the winter and into the spring.”

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