News and Commentary

Fauci Urges Booster Shots For People With Weakened Immune Systems
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 23: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases looks on before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo by
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday said “inevitably there will be a time when we’ll have to get boosts” to the COVID-19 vaccine, adding that the time is now for people with weakened immune systems.

Fauci said on NBC’s “Today” that “at this moment, other than the immune compromised, we’re not going to be giving boosters.”

But, he added, “inevitably there will be a time when we’ll have to get boosts” because ”no vaccine, at least not within this category, is going to have an indefinite amount of protection.”

Fauci said for others, including the elderly, data is still being gathered to determine if or when their protection goes “below a critical level,” When that happens, “that’s when you’re going to be hearing about the implementation of boosters,” he said.

The doctor’s comments came a day after a study found that mRNA vaccines’ effectiveness against Delta — particularly Pfizer’s — is already flagging against the Delta variant of COVID-19.

The Mayo Clinic study found the Pfizer vaccine was only 42% effective against the virus in July, when the Delta variant first emerged as the dominant strain. “If that’s not a wakeup call, I don’t know what is,” a senior Biden official told Axios.

“Overall, it found that the Moderna vaccine was 86% effective against infection over the study period, and Pfizer’s was 76%. Moderna’s vaccine was 92% effective against hospitalization and Pfizer’s was 85%,” Yahoo reported. “But the vaccines’ effectiveness against infection dropped sharply in July, when the Delta variant’s prevalence in Minnesota had risen to over 70%. Moderna was 76% effective against infection, and Pfizer was only 42% effective.”

Fauci on Tuesday called for requiring all U.S. teachers to take the COVID-19 vaccination.

“I’m going to upset people, but I think we should,” Fauci said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We’ve had 600,000-plus deaths and we are in a major surge now as we’re going into the fall, into the school season. This is very serious business.”

But Fauci, an immunologist and 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 the mandates shouldn’t come from the federal government.

“You’re talking about local mandates, for schools, for teachers for universities for colleges,” said Fauci. “I’m sorry. I know people must like to have their individual freedom and not be told to do something but I think we’re in such a serious situation now that under certain circumstances mandates should be done.”

“We obviously have to balance, you know, the discussion that we’ve had now for, you know, over a year is to balance the negative impact on kids from keeping them out of school,” Fauci said. He added that the new Delta variant could put children at risk, urging further steps to “surround the children with people, who if they are eligible to be vaccinated, get vaccinated… if you want to be around children, you have to do whatever you can to protect them. If you’re eligible to get vaccinated, get vaccinated since children of certain ages can’t get vaccinated.”

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