Fauci Open to Covid-19 Booster Shots Sooner Than Eight Months
Anthony Fauci said the door is open to administering booster shots in the U.S. sooner than eight months after a completed Covid-19 vaccination, a possibility President Joe Biden has raised.
“We’re still planning on eight months. That was the calculation we made,” Fauci, Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. However, “we’re totally open to any variation in that based on the data,” he added.
Fauci also said he favors requiring shots for schoolchildren as “a good idea” for the U.S., where only people 12 years and older are eligible for vaccination.
“This is not something new,” he said on CNN. “We have mandates in many places in schools, particularly public schools” for diseases such polio, measles, mumps, rubella and hepatitis, he said.
U.S. health officials have outlined a schedule of administering additional doses after eight months, starting Sept. 20, as vaccine efficacy weakens over time. Last week, Biden wondered publicly if the gap between doses could be shorter.
“Should it be as little as five months?” the president asked during an appearance with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel, which is aggressively rolling out booster shots. “That’s being discussed,” he said, adding that he had talked to Fauci about it.
The administration needs clearance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to proceed on boosters, as vaccination experts continue to debate the value and impact of extra doses. The White House quickly clarified its stance, saying that the plan hasn’t changed even though Biden’s interest in a rapid rollout is clear.
In the U.S., 820,000 additional shots have been administered since Aug. 13, when those with compromised immune systems became eligible, according to CDC data.
Fauci said he was concerned that another 100,000 people could die from Covid-19 by December because so many Americans are refusing to take the shots. About 637,000 U.S. deaths have been blamed on Covid since the pandemic began early last year.
“What is going on now is both entirely predictable, but entirely preventable,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We have about 80 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated, who are not yet vaccinated.”
“That’s why it’s so important now, in this crisis that we are in, that people put aside any ideological, political or other differences, and just get vaccinated,” he added.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.