When speaking to NBC’s TODAY, Dr Fauci said he expected booster shots to become available imminently to those with weaker immune systems.
People who could fall into the category of being immunocompromised include organ transplant recipients, cancer patients, or those with other debilitating conditions.
“Inevitably there will be a time when we’ll have to give boosts” to the general population, Dr Facui said. “What we’re doing literally on a weekly and monthly basis is following cohorts of patients to determine if, when and whom should get it.”
“But right now at this moment, other than the immunocompromised, we’re not going to be giving boosters to people. But we will be following them very carefully and if they do need it, we will be ready to give it to them,” he added.
Federal regulators with the Food and Drug Administration were expected to authorise the third shot of the coronavirus vaccine as early as Thursday for the immunocompromised.
This decision, which has been debated for months among health agencies, was in an effort to give people with immune deficiencies an added boost with an additional jab from Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine.
“No vaccine is going to have indefinite protection,” Dr Fauci said.
The FDA’s decision to authorise a booster shot will first be considered by an advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is scheduled to meet on Friday. While the two federal health agencies were independent from each other, they have typically waited until after committee discussions to roll out a new authorisation for the public.
The CDC committee was expected to support the authorisation as early as Friday after the meeting.
Expanding the vaccines to include a booster shot comes as the United States has experienced a surge in infections and hospitalisations due to the highly contagious Delta variant.
More “breakthrough cases” have been recorded of fully vaccinated individuals contracting Covid-19. Although the percentage of these breakthrough cases was still low, it has caused concern about a vaccine’s waning immunity over time.
While this was a concern, data currently indicates that the vaccine prevented severe disease and death in almost every individual who was fully vaccinated. Those who experienced a “breakthrough case” were typically asymptomatic or experienced mild symptoms.
Already countries in Europe, such as France, Hungary, and Germany, have offered booster shots to certain people with weaker immune systems.