Fauci: 'Too soon' to recommend a third shot

Top US infectious diseases expert says “it is entirely conceivable” that Americans will need a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ben Ariel ,

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci
Reuters

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, said Sunday “it is entirely conceivable, maybe likely” that Americans will need a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming months, The Associated Press reported.

At the same time, he also stressed that it is too soon for the government to recommend another shot.

Fauci said clinical studies and laboratory data have yet to fully bear out the need for a booster to the current two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson regimen.

“Right now, given the data and the information we have, we do not need to give people a third shot,” he said, according to AP.

“That doesn’t mean we stop there. … There are studies being done now ongoing as we speak about looking at the feasibility about if and when we should be boosting people,” added Fauci.

His comments came after Pfizer announced plans to ask US regulators to authorize a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine within the next month.

The move is based on evidence of greater risk of reinfection six months after inoculation and due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration did the right thing last week by pushing back against Pfizer’s assertion about a booster within 12 months.

Hours after Pfizer’s statement Thursday that it would seek authorization for a third dose, the two agencies said they did not view the booster shots as necessary “at this time.”

Fauci said it was quite possible in the coming months “as data evolves” that the government may urge a booster based on such factors as age and underlying medical conditions.

“Certainly it is entirely conceivable, maybe likely at some time, we will need a boost,” Fauci said.

He added that it was inexplicable that some Americans are so resistant to getting a vaccine when scientific data show how effective it is in staving off COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, and he was dismayed by efforts to block making vaccinations more accessible, such as Biden’s suggestion of door-to-door outreach.



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