Dr. Anthony Fauci has a message for America: Get ready to roll up your sleeve, again.
The nation’s top infectious-disease expert said the “overwhelming number” of adults should eventually get an additional vaccine shot to boost their immunity against COVID-19.
“We’d like to get as many people who were originally vaccinated with the first regimen boosted,” Fauci told Reuters in an interview.
Fauci predicted that only those who have received a booster shot will be considered fully vaccinated in the future.
About 60% of all Americans have been fully vaccinated so far. Out of those, an additional 33 million Americans have received a booster dose.
After initially issuing narrow booster-shot guidelines, public health officials recently expanded eligibility to all U.S. adults, six months after their initial vaccination.
Infectious-disease doctors fret about data showing that immunity from the initial vaccine shots can wane.
After a summer wave eased, the U.S. is in the grip of a new surge of COVID-19 cases. The vast majority of those suffering serious illness and death are unvaccinated, but an increasing number of vaccinated people who have not received booster shots are also suffering so-called breakthrough infections.
The trend is likely to only worsen as the U.S. heads into the holiday period. Northern Europe is already experiencing a fresh wave that is as bad or worse as any time since the pandemic first started spreading across the globe in early 2020.
Fauci and other public health experts have said they hope the ongoing vaccination program will help to contain COVID by the spring in the U.S. to the point where it can be considered an endemic disease.
That means the deadly virus will continue to circulate at a lower level, but it will cause smaller, less disruptive outbreaks.