Story at a glance
- Speaking in an interview, Anthony Fauci supports the full FDA approval of the COVID-19 vaccines.
- This move would make third doses possible for immunocompromised people.
- Officials are pushing for masks and vaccinations as the delta variant spreads.
Following the major scientific revelations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that describe the high transmissibility of the delta variant even among fully vaccinated individuals, White House COVID-19 advisor Anthony Fauci hopes that regulators will approve full use of the vaccines, preferably in the coming months.
Currently, the three COVID-19 vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — are all approved under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) emergency use authorization.
Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Fauci explained formal FDA approval would let physicians prescribe a third shot of any COVID-19 vaccine to be used as a booster shot for those who may be immunocompromised.
"Given what we've been through now and the number of months that have gone by since the (emergency use authorization), I would hope that within the very reasonable period of time in the future we'll see that. I hope as we get into the middle of August that we're almost there," he said.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have already filed for full approval from the regulatory agency. Johnson & Johnson has yet to request the standard authorization.
This comes as a new study highlights a COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts where 469 people tested positive for the virus following a trip to Provincetown. Of the 469 infected, 346 of the people were fully vaccinated.
The delta variant was prominent among the samples that were sequenced, implying its strength and transmissibility even among people with some immunity. Experts say that infections caused by the delta variant carry higher viral loads of the COVID-19 virus, making it easier to pass on to others.
“This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement regarding the data.