Dec 8, 2021 - Health

Fauci: It's "when, not if" definition of "fully vaccinated" changes

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN Wednesday that in his personal opinion, "it's going to be a matter of when, not if," the definition of "fully vaccinated" changes.

What he's saying: Fauci said he doesn't see the definition "changing tomorrow or next week," but he believes it's "going to be considered literally on a daily basis."

  • "I don't think anybody would argue that optimal protection is going to be with a third shot," he told CNN's Kate Bolduan. "It's a technical, almost semantic definition, and it is the definition for requirements."

The big picture: Pfizer and BioNTech said on Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant than a three-dose regimen, according to early lab tests.

  • The CDC last month said it is "not examining" changing its definition for what it means to be fully vaccinated, according to director Rochelle Walensky. She had previously said the U.S. "may need to update" its definition after the approval of booster shots.
  • The CDC also last month changed its recommendation for booster shots, saying everyone 18 and older "should" receive a booster dose.

Be smart: The CDC's website says, "Fully vaccinated persons are those who are ≥14 days postcompletion of the primary series of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine."

Go deeper... Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

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