“What we’re starting to see now is an uptick in hospitalizations among people who’ve been vaccinated but not boosted,” Fauci said Tuesday during an NBC News interview. “It’s a significant proportion, but not the majority by any means.”
And on Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said during a briefing that her agency is seeing a decline in vaccine efficacy among elderly recipients and those who live in long-term care facilities.
That matches with CDC data released late last month.
“Although the highest risk are those people who are unvaccinated, we are seeing an increase in emergency department visits among adults 65 and older, which are now again higher than they are for younger age groups,” Walensky remarked.
Residents of long-term care facilities and individuals over age 65 were among the first to be eligible for vaccines last winter.
CDC data shows long-term care residents who got a booster had a “markedly lower” infection rate compared with those who did not, Walensky claimed Wednesday.
Also during the briefing, Fauci said that despite the waning effectiveness, COVID-19 vaccines are able to “protect you, your family, and your community.”
Governors in California, New Mexico, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Colorado have expanded booster doses to all adults without waiting for federal health agencies to act. About 31 million Americans have already obtained a dose beyond their original vaccination regimen, according to CDC data.
“We’ve got to start right now getting anybody who’s eligible … to get them boosted,” Fauci told NBC. In the same interview, he called for people, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear a mask.
The push to have people receive the booster shot comes as some officials have publicly mulled whether or not to deem anyone fully vaccinated if they haven’t received a booster dose.
In an interview with Axios this week, Fauci suggested that “boosters are ultimately going to become a part of the standard regimen and not just a bonus,” referring to an individual’s vaccination status.
On Thursday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, declared that eligible people who haven’t received a booster within six months are not fully vaccinated.
“If you were vaccinated more than six months ago, now is the time to get that booster,” he said in a press conference. “Get it before Thanksgiving, before Christmas, before all those holidays.”
Meanwhile, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, suggested that people who were vaccinated six or more months ago may be responsible for the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
Israeli officials earlier this year stipulated that a person who hasn’t received a booster dose after six months would not be able to use their COVID-19 “green pass,” or a type of vaccine passport used to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, and other establishments.
According to a government advisory released last month, the Green Pass will now only be available to Israelis who can show proof that they’ve had a booster shot after six months, or who can show proof they’ve recovered from the disease.