Fauci says jury still out on COVID-19 vaccine booster shots

Dr. Anthony Fauci, shown speaking in May, said Tuesday that health experts don’t have enough data yet to determine whether and when to recommend extra protection for those who have already been vaccinated. Greg Nash/POOL/AFP via Getty Images/TNS

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that health experts don’t have enough data yet to determine whether and when to recommend extra protection for those who have already been vaccinated.

“We’re not there yet,” Fauci told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. “They’ll be examining data as it comes in.”

Fauci, who has become a lightning rod for right-wing anti-vaxxers, said the decision about recommending booster shots has nothing to do with the safety or effectiveness of the vaccines.

He stressed it’s more about how long the protection lasts.

“The requirement or not for a boost ... has to do with the durability of the effectiveness,” he said. “So people are saying maybe the vaccines don’t work if they’re going to need a booster. No, not at all.”

Drugmaker Pfizer met with federal public health officials Monday to discuss the possible need for vaccine booster shots.

The vaccines against COVID-19 are considered remarkably effective at preventing the deadly disease. But it’s mostly unknown how long they will protect vaccinated people.

Many countries have started to administer coronavirus vaccines to their citizens as COVID-19 cases top 132 million worldwide.

Many doctors believe some kind of boosters will eventually be needed to maintain immunity, especially if the COVID-19 virus continues to spread and mutate in various parts of the world.

American public health experts are wary about speaking openly about the possible need for additional shots because it may deter some people from getting vaccinated in the first place.

The U.S. is currently experiencing a new surge of cases driven by the virulent Delta variant of coronavirus. The weekly average caseload has doubled in the past month and hospitalizations are rising fast in some pockets of the Midwest and South where vaccination rates are low.

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Tribune Wire

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