Fauci: 'Inevitably' everyone will need boosters eventually

Fauci: 'Inevitably' everyone will need boosters eventually
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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care — Biden mandate faces Dem resistance First study of omicron shows Pfizer vaccine may be less effective Edie Falco join PETA in pitching animal experimentation reforms MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said Thursday that “inevitably” everyone will need booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine eventually because like any vaccine, its protection won’t be “indefinite.”

NBC News’s Craig Melvin asked Fauci on “Today” whether it’s “inevitable” that “in the not too distant future everyone is going to need a booster shot,” as the debate over the necessity of third shots has ramped up.

President BidenJoe BidenHouse passes 8B defense policy bill House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE’s chief medical adviser at first emphasized that immunocompromised people “never really got a good response” from the vaccine to more robustly protect them from COVID-19.

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“So for them, it's more of getting them up to what they hopefully had gotten the first time around, but we know because of their immunocompromise, they don't,” Fauci said, noting the decision to give boosters to others depends on if general protection falls below “a certain level.”

But Fauci responded to the original question by saying, “No vaccine, at least not within this category, is going to have an indefinite amount of protection."

“So, in answer to your question, it's right,” he said. “Inevitably, there will be a time when we'll have to give boosts. What we're doing, literally, on a weekly and monthly basis is following cohorts of patients to determine if, when and whom should get it.

“But right now at this moment, other than the immunocompromised — we're not going to be giving boosters to people," he continued. "But we will be following them very carefully and if they do need it, we'll be ready to give it to them."

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However, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said more data is needed to understand the effectiveness of the vaccines over time. 

“What the CDC is looking at, they have cohorts of patients — elderly, nursing home, younger individuals, etc. — looking at all of that data, and if the data shows, in fact, that the degree of protection has gone down below a critical level, that's when you're going to be hearing about the implementation of boosters,” Fauci said. 

“But right now, at this moment, they are examining the data,” he added. “They do not feel that we absolutely have to give it, except for the immunocompromised, who you know, imminently, they're going to get the approval.”

Fauci’s comments come as news outlets reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to approve booster vaccinations for immunocompromised people in the coming days. NBC reported that the agency plans to amend the emergency use authorizations for Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccines to authorize a third shot. 

Pfizer declared last month it would apply to the FDA for authorization for a third shot, sparking pushback from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying booster shots were not necessary at the time but could be needed later.