Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that the US government is not yet telling Americans who are fully vaccinated that they need a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, based on the current data, despite Pfizer saying it might be time for a third shot.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration is saying right now, “given the data and the information we have, we do not need to give people a third shot, a boost, superimposed upon the two doses you get with the mRNA (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccine) and the one dose you get with (Johnson & Johnson).”
Fauci said that there are ongoing studies evaluating if and when the US will recommend booster shots.
“There’s a lot of work going on to examine this in real time to see if we might need a boost. But right now, given the data that the CDC and the FDA has, they don’t feel that we need to tell people right now you need to be boosted,” Fauci said.
Drugmaker Pfizer said Thursday it is seeing waning immunity from its coronavirus vaccine and says it is ramping up efforts to develop a booster dose and will soon publish data about a third dose of its vaccine that could protect people from variants.
The company also said it would seek FDA emergency use authorization for a booster dose in August.
Hours after Pfizer issued its statement, however, the FDA and CDC issued a rare joint statement saying fully vaccinated Americans “do not need a booster shot at this time.”
The two agencies said they, along with the National Institutes of Health, “are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary. This process takes into account laboratory data, clinical trial data, and cohort data – which can include data from specific pharmaceutical companies, but does not rely on those data exclusively.”
On Sunday, Tapper asked Fauci if he was worried that if the CDC and FDA change their recommendations and later recommend booster shots that it could undercut trust in the two federal agencies or lead some critics to accuse the agencies of “flip-flopping.”
Fauci replied that the CDC and FDA make their formal recommendations “based on data that’s evidence that proves we need to go in this direction.”
“Before you get that data, there will always be people, well-meaning people and well-meaning companies will say, ‘You know, the way we look at the situation it looks like you might need a booster so let’s go ahead and give a booster.’ But that’s not a formal recommendation,” Fauci said.
Fauci added, “Data evolves. You get more information as the time goes by. So when you get to the point, where you have enough information to make a firm recommendation, that is not flip-flopping. That is making recommendations as the data evolve.”