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The phrase “fully vaccinated” will eventually change to mean a person has gotten a booster shot — not just the initial doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, predicted Anthony Fauci, MD, the White House chief medical adviser.
During a White House briefing on Thursday, a reporter asked Fauci if he thinks the United States will follow the example of Israel and require people to get a third dose of either of the two-dose vaccines “to be considered fully vaccinated.”
Fauci, who’s also the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the FDA and other government agencies will make that decision, but “from my own experience as an immunologist, I would not at all be surprised that the adequate, full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses.”
He discussed data from Israel involving more than 1 million people that shows giving a booster shot after the two-dose Pfizer vaccine produced a “substantial positive impact.”
Israel, like the United States, has been battling a dangerous surge of Delta variant infections.
“There’s no doubt from the dramatic data from the Israeli study that the boosts that are being now done there and contemplated here support very strongly the rationale for such an approach,” he said.
The Biden administration announced Aug. 18 that booster shots to ramp up protection against COVID-19 infection are scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 20.
Those who received the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines would be eligible to get a booster shot 8 months after they received the second dose of those vaccines, officials said. The administration has not yet decided on booster shots for the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.