Despite predictions that widespread vaccinations would bring about an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, one top expert appears to be backing away from such a narrative.
As top White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci recently acknowledged, vaccinated Americans might need multiple booster shots to keep the virus under control.
“A much greater durability”
According to Fox News, the assessment came in the form of a statement on Sunday regarding the waning efficacy of vaccine doses.
“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,” Fauci told ABC News host George Stephanopoulos.
The interviewer pressed him on whether annual booster shots could become a routine for Americans.
“It’s tough to tell because the third shot of an mRNA could not only do what we absolutely know it does, it has dramatically increased the level of protection,” he said. “But from an immunological standpoint, it could very well increase the durability of protection by things that you can’t readily measure by the level of antibodies that you might have a maturation of the immune system that would prolong the durability.”
Despite his troubling caveat, Fauci stopped short of recommending a yearly booster shot.
“Has not been elucidated”
“For official requirements, it’s still two shots of the mRNA and one shot of the J&J for the official determination of what’s required or not,” Fauci explained.
In an op-ed published by Fox News last month, however, Dr. Marty Makary argued that the Food and Drug Administration should rethink its policy of recommending boosters for all demographics.
While he acknowledged that promoting boosters among elderly and high-risk groups appears to be supported by available data, he added that “the reason both the FDA and [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] external experts voted down ‘boosters for all adults’ just eight weeks ago was that the side effects of a booster in younger people has not been elucidated.”
The prevalence of the omicron variant of the virus has led to an increased push for most Americans to receive a booster shot.
Subsequent data, however, suggests that not only is the variant more resistant to available vaccines, but it is also believed to result in generally milder infections.