The top U.S. immunologist now says some Americans with underlying health issues might need to take a coronavirus booster to be protected against new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Those who are transplant patients, cancer chemotherapy, auto-immune diseases that are on immunosuppressant regimens, those are the kind of individuals that if there’s going to be a third booster, which might likely happen, would be among the vulnerable,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN on Sunday.
Just more than 56% of all Americans, including children, have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC, along with the Food and Drug Agency (FDA), has said that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 don’t need a booster shot.
“People who are fully vaccinated are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating in the country such as Delta,” the FDA and CDC said on July 7.
“Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. FDA, CDC, and [the National Institutes of Health] are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary,” they added. “We continue to review any new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed. We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.”
In an interview earlier this month, NBC’s Chuck Todd said to Fauci, “We know Mississippi … has the lowest vaccinated race rate in the country. You are in Biloxi, Mississippi, right now, Dr. Fauci. Would you be wearing a mask? You’re fully vaccinated, but would you be wearing a mask in Biloxi?”
“I think that would be a good reason to do that,” Fauci said. “I mean because they’re — as we’ve said so often that vaccines are not — even as good as they are and highly effective, nothing is 100%. And if you put yourself in an environment in which you have a high level of viral dynamics and a very low level of vaccine, you might want to go the extra step and say, ‘When I’m in that area where there’s a considerable degree of viral circulation, I might want to go the extra mile to be cautious enough to make sure that I get the extra added level of protection, even though the vaccines themselves are highly effective.'”
Last week, Fauci said people who are fully vaccinated might “want to consider” once again donning a mask indoors amid the spreading Delta coronavirus variant of COVID-19.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who served on former President Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force and is now President Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19, said on CNBC that “if you want to go the extra mile of safety even though you’re vaccinated when you’re indoors, particularly in crowded places, you might want to consider wearing a mask.”
The Delta variant currently accounts for an estimated 83% of all new cases in the U.S., according to the CDC. Last Wednesday, the U.S. recorded 52,032 new COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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