What does “fully vaccinated” mean?
A while back, it meant two shots of a Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or just one from Johnson & Johnson. But then Omicron appeared, bringing with it the need for a third shot, a “booster” (and there is already talk of a fourth shot possibly being necessary some time down the road).
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. immunologist, has hemmed and hawed in recent days when asked what “fully vaccinated” means, but on Tuesday, he finally gave out his definition.
“We’re using the terminology now ‘keeping your vaccinations up to date,’ rather than what ‘fully vaccinated’ means,” Fauci said during a National Institutes of Health lecture Tuesday, according to Bloomberg News. “Right now, optimal protection is with a third shot of an mRNA or a second shot of a J&J.”
Fauci’s comments followed word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday that third shots of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine should be administered within five months after completing the initial two-shot series. That shortened the time frame by a month.
“Early studies have indicated a booster of Pfizer Inc.‘s vaccine provides a 25-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies that fight the variant, Moderna Inc.‘s booster produces a 37-fold increase in antibodies, and two doses of Johnson & Johnson‘s vaccine cut hospitalizations in South Africa by 85%,” Bloomberg wrote.
The quickly spreading Omicron variant is better at slipping past the immunity delivered by vaccines than the Delta variant, according to a recent report.
“Investigating nearly 12,000 Danish households in mid-December, the scientists found that Omicron was 2.7 to 3.7 times more infectious than the Delta variant among vaccinated Danes,” Reuters reported, citing a Danish study published last week.
The study, conducted by researchers at University of Copenhagen, Statistics Denmark and Statens Serum Institut (SSI), suggested that the Omicron variant spreads more quickly because it can evade immunity delivered by vaccines.
“Our findings confirm that the rapid spread of the Omicron (variant) primarily can be ascribed to the immune evasiveness rather than an inherent increase in the basic transmissibility,” the study said.
The study also found that “booster-vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus, regardless of the variant, than the unvaccinated,” Reuters reported.
Tyra Grove Krause, Denmark’s chief epidemiologist and SSI’s technical director, said on Danish TV 2 that a new study from Denmark’s State Serum Institute found that the risk of winding up in the hospital with Omicron is half that seen with the previous Delta variant. She also said that like the emergence of the variant in South Africa, cases will rise, then quickly fall.
“I think we will have that in the next two months, and then I hope the infection will start to subside and we get our normal lives back,” she said on Monday, according to the Daily Mail.
“Omicron will peak at the end of January, and in February we will see declining infection pressure and a decreasing pressure on the health care system,” she said. “But we have to make an effort in January, because it will be hard to get through.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to email@example.com.
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