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‘Up-to-Date’ Shots Replacing Term ‘Fully Vaccinated,’ Fauci says

The language around what constitutes fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is being replaced, in the strongest indication by White House chief medical adviser Anthony S. Fauci that two shots of a messenger RNA vaccine fall short of protection amid the highly transmissible Omicron variant. [Actually, mRNA effectiveness for infection was already deep in the negative long before “Omicron”.]

“We’re using the terminology now ‘keeping your vaccinations up to date,’ rather than what ‘fully vaccinated’ means,” Fauci said during a National Institutes of Health lecture Tuesday.

“Right now, optimal protection is with a third shot of an mRNA or a second shot of a J&J.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called Tuesday for third shots of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to be administered within five months of the initial two-shot series, shortening the time frame before a booster by a month.

A CDC advisory panel is expected to recommend boosters for teenagers in a meeting Wednesday.

Early studies have indicated a booster of Pfizer Inc.‘s vaccine provides a 25-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies that fight the variant, Moderna Inc.‘s booster produces a 37-fold increase in antibodies, and two doses of Johnson & Johnson‘s vaccine cut hospitalizations in South Africa by 85%. [What is “neutralizing” about these antibodies when viral load in mRNA-treated and untreated is still the same?]

Fauci and other health leaders as well as President Joe Biden have pressed for months about the importance of getting both vaccinated and boosted. But the CDC’s definition of fully vaccinated has remained two weeks after the primary dose or doses. That decision has prompted questions at multiple White House press conferences as to whether the agency plans to change the definition of fully vaccinated.

“We are continuing to follow that science and it is literally evolving daily. And as that science evolves, we will continue to review the data and update our recommendations as necessary,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing Dec. 15.

Fauci also said in September that he thinks three doses Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s mRNA vaccines will likely be the primary series.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made his remarks about new terminology in response to whether the U.S. will start to offer fourth doses the way Israel has.

“We need to find out what the durability of protection of the third shot is before we start thinking about the fourth shot.”

Source: Bloomberg Law