Story at a glance

  • Pfizer announced last week that its vaccines protect individuals for at least six months.
  • “So the good news is that it’s at least six months,” Fauci said.
  • “[But] we need to be careful about that six month number,” Fauci said.

Anthony Fauci suggested on Sunday there is a possibility that even those who’ve been fully inoculated against COVID-19 might eventually need a booster shot — maybe in as little as a year.

But Fauci urged caution to MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan who pressed for clarification about the long-term efficacy of several vaccines currently approved for use in the U.S. after Pfizer announced last week that its vaccines protect individuals for at least six months.

“We need to be careful about that six month number,” Fauci said. “We know for sure it’s effective for six months and highly likely that it will be effective for considerably longer period of time.” 


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Fauci said more data is needed to know the full scope of a vaccine's protection, adding that people need to be “followed closely enough to determine when that level of efficacy and when, or if, the protection diminishes.” Fauci said clinical data will also be vital to determine if variants are breaking through a particular vaccine's antibodies. 

“So the good news is that it’s at least six months,” Fauci said. “Hopefully a lot more. But in direct answer to your question, if it turns out a year or a year and a half, we very well may need to get booster shots to keep up the level of protection.”

Fauci previously expressed confidence that available vaccines would provide adequate protection against COVID-19 variants.

Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer announced last week that the company should have a booster shot ready that could offer protection against virus variants by the end of 2021. 


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Published on Apr 12, 2021