COVID-19 booster shots may become the new standard to be considered fully vaccinated, according to the nation’s top doctor.
Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed the impending need for hundreds of millions of Americans to roll up their sleeves and get the jab during a pre-taped interview that aired at the 2021 STAT Summit in Boston this week, according to ABC News.
“I happen to believe as an immunologist and infectious disease person that a third shot boost for an mRNA [vaccine] … should be part of the actual standard regimen, where a booster isn’t a luxury,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reportedly said.
“A booster isn’t an add-on and a booster is part of what the original regimen should be. So that when we look back on this, we’re going to see that boosters are essential for an optimal vaccine regimen,” Fauci told the audience, according to the network.
The remarks came as New York City and several states expanded booster shot eligibility to all adults who were vaccinated against COVID-19 at least six months ago this week. Until then, the jabs were only available to people 65 years of age and over and those in high-risk situations.
The guidance from the president’s chief medical advisor came as Moderna filed an application with the FDA seeking emergency use authorization of vaccine booster shots for all US residents 18 and older. Pfizer last week asked federal regulators to expand its booster shot eligibility to all Americans.
Some 31.5 million Americans had already received a booster shot on Wednesday, according to CDC data. More than a third of the recipients were over 65.
The number of vaccinated US residents stood at 196 million people, according to the agency — which noted that more than 40 percent of the country was not fully inoculated.
The push for booster shots came as the seven-day rolling average of cases increased by 27 percent since Oct. 25, US data showed.
Fauci had said over the summer he was “certain” Americans would need additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson alerted Great Britain that third shots are “absolutely crucial” Monday.
“It’s very clear that getting three jabs — getting your booster — will become an important fact and it will make life easier for you in all sorts of ways,” Johnson said.
A recent study showed the rates of confirmed COVID-19 infection and severe illness were “substantially lower” among those who got a booster shot compared to people who did not.