White House pandemic adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday said that despite his recent comments, currently two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, provide full vaccination.
Several days ago, Fauci said that the definition of what it means to be fully vaccinated will likely change to include a booster shot, telling CNN: “It’s going to be a matter of when, not if.”
But on Sunday, Fauci told ABC News Sunday that federal officials don’t yet factor a booster shot into whether one is fully vaccinated, and health officials will continue to evaluate whether it needs to change. Should the definition be changed at the federal level, it would then trickle down to impact various vaccine mandates—such as for employment—or vaccine passports to enter certain businesses.
“For official requirements, it’s still two shots of the mRNA and one shot of the J&J,” he said, referring to the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, “for the official determination of what’s required or not.”
“I think if you look at the data, the more and more it becomes clear that if you want to be optimally protected you really should get a booster,” Fauci added Sunday. “It’s the optimal care.”
Other than Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky has not ruled out changing the definition. Her agency is the one responsible for setting the definition, which is currently used being by authorities imposing vaccine mandates or passport systems across the U.S.
Later in the interview, Fauci—who has headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since the Reagan administration—didn’t rule out whether a fourth shot, or a second booster dose, would be needed.
“If it becomes necessary to get yet another boost, then we’ll just have to deal with it when that occurs,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “But I’m hoping, from an immunological standpoint, that that third shot of an mRNA and the second shot of a J&J will give a much greater durability of protection than just the six months or so that we’re seeing right now.”
With the emergence of the Omicron variant, officials around the world as well as the heads of vaccine manufacturers have suggested that people go get a booster dose if they’re eligible. President Joe Biden in early December made such a recommendation over the new variant, which, according to the World Health Organization, has not been linked to any deaths anywhere in the world to date.
The Epoch Times has contacted the CDC for comment.