Fauci says vast majority of vaccinated Americans should get a COVID-19 booster – Community News

Fauci says vast majority of vaccinated Americans should get a COVID-19 booster

dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions at the Dirksen Senate Office in Washington, DC, US, July 20, 2021. Stefani Reynolds /Swim via REUTERS

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NEW YORK, Nov. 23 (Reuters) – Top US infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Tuesday that the vast majority of Americans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 should receive a booster shot, and that an extra dose will eventually become the norm for determining who has been fully vaccinated.

Fauci and other disease experts have said they expect COVID-19 to transition from a pandemic phase in the United States to an endemic disease this spring, meaning the virus will continue to circulate at lower levels, causing smaller, less disruptive but still major outbreaks in the coming years. read more

But some are expressing new concerns about a rise in US infections in recent weeks, a trend likely to accelerate as more Americans travel and gather for US Thanksgiving this week and other upcoming holidays.

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“We’d like as many people as possible who were originally vaccinated with the first regimen to get a boost,” Fauci said in an interview for the upcoming Reuters Next conference.

Asked to quantify, he said, the “overwhelming majority” of Americans who have been fully vaccinated should now be given a COVID-19 booster shot based on data showing they offer “substantial” protection beyond what is being reported. seen at the original inoculation.

To date, approximately 33 million Americans have received a booster dose. The government recently extended eligibility for an additional injection to all US adults. read more

Studies from Israel and other countries have shown that vaccine protection diminishes over time. While data first suggested this was a particular problem in the elderly, there is newer evidence that it occurs in all age groups, Fauci said.

“That’s why we really want as many people as possible who were originally vaccinated to get a booster… because they really work,” he said.

As experience with COVID-19 vaccines grows, it’s conceivable that the definition of a “complete and complete regimen” in the United States could include three doses of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer (PFE.N)/BioNTech and Moderna (MRNA. O) includes. ) and two doses of the Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) vaccine, he said, similar to what some other countries have done.

“Right now, officially, being fully vaccinated is equivalent to two injections of the mRNA and one injection of the J&J, but that could certainly change,” he said. “That’s on the table to discuss.”

As for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, which began earlier this month with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Fauci said there is no sign of new safety concerns. “There’s no signal at all,” Fauci said.

At least 10% of the 28 million eligible children have received a first dose, Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus coordinator, said Monday.

Fauci said people should realize that no vaccine is completely without side effects. But when you compare the risks of COVID-19 to the very rare risk of a side effect in a child, “overwhelming … the benefit far outweighs the risk.”

When asked if he would consider retiring soon, the 80-year-old immunologist who heads the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said, “I’m not even thinking about that right now.”

Fauci said he still wants to see the end of COVID-19 as a pandemic, and he also wants to see progress in ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to which he has devoted much of his career.

“There are a lot of unfinished business at the moment, so I don’t even think about walking away.”

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Reporting by Michele Gershberg; Written by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.