“We’re using the terminology now ‘keeping your vaccinations up to date,’ rather than what ‘fully vaccinated’ means,” Fauci said during a National Institutes of Health-hosted commentary. “Right now, optimal protection is with a third shot of an mRNA or a second shot of a J&J,” he said, referring to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well as the Pfizer and Moderna shots, which use mRNA technology.
Fauci, who is perhaps the federal government’s lead COVID-19 messenger, made his response about the latest terminology regarding the Israeli government’s plans to administer a fourth Pfizer shot.
“We need to find out what the durability of protection of the third shot is before we start thinking about the fourth shot,” Fauci also said.
In Israel and several other countries, it’s mandatory to receive a booster dose in order to have an up-to-date COVID-19 vaccine passport, known as a “green pass,” in order to enter restaurants, gyms, and other businesses. So far, no city in the United States has mandated the booster shot for their respective vaccine passports.
Last week, authorities in the Netherlands said they are aiming to have eligible residents receive up to six COVID-19 shots in total. A letter issued by the country’s Ministry of Health said the government has purchased enough doses to provide three extra booster doses until 2023.
About 35 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have already been ordered for 2022 and 2023, the Ministry of Health said. Some 10.5 million Moderna doses, 840,000 doses of Novax, and 10,000 doses of Valneva—if it is approved by the European Union for use—were also ordered for 2022 and 2023, the agency said.
But Andrew Pollard, one of the creators of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot, recently said in an interview that it is “not sustainable” to continuously provide booster doses to people twice per year.
Inside the United States, an increasing number of businesses and organizations—namely universities—have started to mandate booster shots as a condition for employment or for entering facilities.
Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer, who is the CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, said on Dec. 22 that starting “immediately,” some of his businesses “are going to be requiring that 100 percent of our staff members have a booster within 30 days of their eligibility.”
Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, MIT, Northwestern, Columbia, Amherst, and Emory colleges have started requiring boosters for students and staff. The booster requirements are generally when students are scheduled to return back to campus following the winter break.
And staff, audience members, and performers who attend New York’s Metropolitan Opera in New York City will have to present proof they’ve obtained a booster beginning Jan. 17 before entering the facility or attending a performance, said the Met Opera in a release.