Fauci Defends COVID-19 Booster Shots ‘New Norm’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top medical adviser to President Joe Biden, has defended the administration’s decision to recommend coronavirus vaccine booster shots and said that three doses of an mRNA vaccine, not two, would be the new standard of full vaccination during a briefing of the White House coronavirus response team on Thursday, Sept. 2.

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“I would not at all be surprised that the adequate, full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses,” Fauci said, according to media reports.

He also presented data from Israel which shows the waning immunity to the virus after about eights months. According to him, this data “supported the rationale for COVID-19 booster shots.” 

The data came from studies relating to how the more transmissible Delta variant arrived in Israel in early summer, along with information on the number of positive coronavirus cases and severe COVID-related illnesses among vaccinated individuals between June and August. He cited how Israel administered Pfizer’s booster shots to older individuals from July 30, to combat the unexpected Delta-fueled surge.

Fauci then described how Israel saw a “rather substantial positive impact,” with “a greater-than-tenfold diminution in the relative risk of both confirmed infection and severe disease.”

Later in the briefing, Fauci said that the protection conferred by a third shot was “dramatic” and “durable.” 

In one Israeli study, researchers found that three weeks after a third shot, the risk of infection dropped by as much as 84 percent, as opposed to the original two-shot regimen.

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In the U.S., however, the three vaccines that are now approved for use include those manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna using mRNA technology and the single-dose viral vectors vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. 

Initially, two doses from Pfizer and Moderna were deemed sufficient, but with the arrival of the highly transmissible Delta variant, virologists believe that a third dose is necessary to meet the immunity needs. Johnson & Johnson, on the other hand, remained to be a single-dose vaccine.

A booster program plan for Americans who were vaccinated is still being discussed, but no final decision has been announced aside from the approval for the Pfizer booster shots for the vulnerable starting September 20.

“I would hope that the countries that are boosting their populations similar to what we are understand the importance of the global necessity to essentially suppress this at the global level,” Fauci said.