The nation’s top infectious disease expert says he believes the definition of being ‘fully vaccinated’ against COVID-19 in the U.S. could change to include booster shots.
But Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this may need to change to include extra doses.
‘In my opinion, boosters are ultimately going to become a part of the standard regimen and not just a bonus,’ he told Axios on Tuesday.
It comes as sources told the news organization that the Biden administration is set to announce plans to expand booster shots to all adults in the U.S as early as this week.
In August, boosters were approved for immunocompromised Americans who had received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine after data showed this group was less likely to develop high antibody levels after two doses.
Shortly after, the White House announced booster shots would become available for all Americans starting on September 20 due to data suggesting waning efficacy of the initial shots.
But many scientists, including senior officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), disagreed and argued that the vaccines are still highly effective at preventing severe illness and death.
This led to boosters of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines only being authorized for those aged 65 and older or at high risk due to their jobs or underlying conditions six months later, and Johnson & Johnson shots approved for all adults more than two months later.
The FDA is now expected to authorize Pfizer’s booster for all adults aged 18 and older as early as Thursday, sources told The New York Times.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30.7 million Americans – or 15.7 percent of the population – have received a booster shot, as of Tuesday.