COVID-19 booster injections could become the new standard for being considered fully vaccinated, according to the nation’s top doctor.
dr. Anthony Fauci discussed the looming need for hundreds of millions of Americans to roll up their sleeves during a pre-recorded interview aired this week at the 2021 STAT Summit in Boston, according to ABC News.
“Coincidentally, as an immunologist and person with infectious diseases, I believe that a third injection boosts an mRNA [vaccine] …should be part of the actual standard regimen, where a booster is not a luxury,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reportedly said.
“A booster is not an add-on and a booster is part of what the original regimen should be. So when we look back on this, we will see that boosters are essential for an optimal vaccine regimen,” Fauci told the audience, according to the network.
The comments came as New York City and several states this week expanded booster shot eligibility to all adults who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least six months ago. Until then, the shots were only available to people aged 65 and older and people in high-risk situations.
Guidance from the president’s chief medical adviser came as Moderna filed an application with the FDA to seek approval for the emergency use of vaccine booster shots for all U.S. residents 18 years of age and older. Pfizer last week asked federal regulators to extend booster shot eligibility to all Americans.
About 31.5 million Americans had already received a booster shot on Wednesday, according to CDC data. More than a third of recipients were over 65 years of age.
The number of US residents vaccinated was 196 million people, according to the agency — which noted that more than 40 percent of the country had not been fully vaccinated.
Pressure on booster shots came as the seven-day moving average of cases rose 27 percent since Oct. 25, U.S. data showed.
Fauci had said in the summer that he was “sure” that Americans would need additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Britain that Monday’s third shots are “absolutely crucial”.
“It’s very clear that getting three shots — getting your booster — is going to become an important fact and will make life easier for you in all sorts of ways,” Johnson said.
A recent study found that the rates of confirmed COVID-19 infection and serious illness were “significantly lower” in those who received a booster shot compared to those who did not.