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On Friday, an FDA committee recommended people over 65 and those at high risk (who got the Pfizer vaccine) get booster shots—but everyone else should not (for now). Meanwhile, the Biden administration had hoped everyone could get boosters starting tomorrow. Confused? So are a lot of people. To clear things up, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on State of the Union with Jake Tapper. Read on for five essential pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Dr. Fauci Said Here's Who is Recommended to Get a Booster Now
President Joe Biden hoped people could get booster shots by tomorrow, and Fauci once said he felt that was a good idea. Now the FDA committee says not everyone should. Only those 65 and older, or those at high risk, who got the Pfizer vaccine, should get boosters now.
"I don't think" the FDA committee "made a mistake," said Fauci. "They did that in the proper deliberative process. And they came up with a recommendation, which I think is a good recommendation, because if you look at everyone over 65 and people from 18 to 64 with underlying conditions that make them more likely to have a severe outcome, and those who are 18 to 64, who by either institutional or occupational situation, put them at a higher risk for exposure and infection, you're going to get a pretty good chunk of the population."
("I will certainly get a booster," said Fauci.)
"The one thing I think people need to realize is that data is coming in literally on a daily and weekly basis," said Fauci. "They're going to continue to look at this, literally in real time, more data will be coming in on both safety for younger individuals, efficacy, both from Israel, other countries, as well as our substantial cohorts that the CDC is following. So the story is not over yet. I think people need to understand that this is not the end of the story."
Dr. Fauci Said a Three Shot Vaccine May Become Standard
Dr. Fauci believes ultimately, boosters will be necessary for everyone. "Ultimately, when we look back on this, the proper regimen for protection, optimal protection and durability of protection would be more than just the prime and the boost followed by three to four weeks that it might actually entail a third boost that is entirely conceivable, because remember, when we did the initial studies, what we did was we had to move very, very quickly because we were dealing and still are with an emergency situation," said Fauci. "So the prime followed by a boost in three weeks for Pfizer and four weeks for Moderna has already saved millions of lives globally. But that doesn't mean that that's the optimal regimen. What I'm seeing, when all is said and done an optimal regimen may be three shots for everyone. But right now, based on the data that was examined by the advisory committee, their decision, which I respect is to go the way we just said with having some limitations on it, remembering that data keeps coming in on a weekly basis. And we are going to see likely and evolution of this decision."
Dr. Fauci Said Don't Get a Booster Unless You're Advised to Get One
Some people are going to get boosters even if they are not over 65 or not at high risk. "We are strongly recommending that people do not do that," said Dr. Fauci, "that they abide by the recommendation. And in this case, greater than 65 and certain people 18 to 64 with different conditions in different circumstances in life. I mean, obviously people are going to do that. It is not recommended. We recommend that people wait until you get to the point where you fall into the category where it's recommended, but you're right. People will be doing that, but that's human nature. Not much you can do about that." Is there risk involved? "There's always a theoretical risk because the studies have not been done to look at the safety and the immunogenicity of doing that right now for every one. …Theoretically, if you look at things, it is very unlikely that there's going to be a risk there, but scientifically you don't want to go by 'unlikely.' You want to have some scientific proof. And that's the reason why right now we recommend that people go by the guidelines, according to the FDA approval and the CDC recommendations."
Dr. Fauci Said Get Vaccinated After Infection
If you get COVID, "you do have protection," said Dr. Fauci. "The one thing that we are not aware of yet, and hopefully we'll get that data is what the durability of protection is. And looking ahead, whether or not that type of a protection that's induced by natural infection, how that will be against a variety of variants as they arrive. I'm not denying at all that people who get infected and recover have a considerable degree of immunity. We also know, and I think we should not let this pass without saying that when you get infected and recover, A, you get a good degree of immunity, but B when you get vaccinated, you dramatically increase that protection, which is something that's really quite good."
Dr. Fauci Said Here's How to Prevent One Million American Deaths
"I certainly hope not," said Fauci. "I hope not. I don't believe at all that that is something that is an inevitability by any means. We have the capability within our own power with all vaccines, which are highly efficacious and effective in the real world and safe, that if we get the overwhelming proportion of our population vaccinated, we're not going to see that at all. Remember we have about 70 million people in the population who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet gotten vaccinated. If we can get most of those people vaccinated…we will not see the kinds of deaths that you just mentioned." So get vaccinated, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.