USA TODAY – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, isn’t sure whether Americans will need another COVID-19 vaccine booster in the future.
“The honest answer is that we do not know at this point, but we’re collecting data,” Fauci said Monday at a White House briefing. “We may not need to get boosted every six months or so but if we do, we’ll address it. We’ll find the data, make it public and address it accordingly.”
Fauci said several studies from across the globe have made it clear that boosters “significantly enhance protection” from COVID-19. The hope is that the booster dose gives the immune response “a chance to mature and strengthen” significantly, he said, and last longer than the second dose, which waned in effectiveness after several months.
Boosters are available at more than 80,000 locations nationwide and about 36% of Americans have already been boosted, said Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator.
There’s been an 8% increase in COVID-19 cases nationwide compared to last week and an average of 1,000 deaths per day. But CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said America is “heading into a very different Thanksgiving than last year because now we have the tools” to fight the pandemic, which she said has continued because of unvaccinated individuals.
Walensky and Fauci encouraged Americans to gather for the holiday season so long as they’re doing so safely, which means adhering to all the “prevention measures” including getting vaccinated and wearing masks when applicable. Taking a rapid test before gathering with people from a different household could be considered an extra layer of protection, Walensky said.
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