U.S. Coronavirus: Three doses of Covid-19 vaccine will seemingly be wanted for full safety, Fauci says
He cited two Israeli studies that showed a decrease in infections in people who received a third or booster vaccination.
There was good reason to believe that a third dose “will actually be permanent, and if it is permanent you will very likely have three-dose regimen as routine treatment,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies Infectious diseases said at a briefing Thursday.
It is ultimately up to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to decide whether Americans should get three doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, Fauci said. The agency is looking into the issue later this month after Moderna and Pfizer both filed for FDA approval for a third dose, either six months or eight months after receiving the second dose. The recommendation for the booster doses will likely become available to a large part of the population, and the doses could be introduced as early as the week of September 20th, said US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy on Thursday.
“At some point down the line, we may have a way of telling who needs an extra shot and who doesn’t,” Murthy said in a call hosted by the US Health and Human Services Covid-19 Community Corps.
“At the moment we don’t have this indicator, so we recommend that you not only get vaccinated across the board – regardless of whether you have been infected in the past or not – but also, when it comes to vaccination, these additional doses Maintain your protection and expand it so that we do so on a broader basis, “he said.
Additional doses were approved by the FDA for immunocompromised individuals this month.
Although the doses are not yet available to the public, local health officials across the country have recently seen an increase in calls from people wanting to schedule appointments, according to the National Association of County and City Health Departments.
However, the focus remains on increasing vaccination rates among the US population to help overcome the pandemic. Approximately 52.7% of the total US population are fully vaccinated. But of the 10 states with the worst Covid-19 case rates in the past week, seven also had the best vaccination rates among the 10, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Schools and universities put security measures in place
The risk of Covid-19 spreading to schools and campuses remains critical, and recent research shows how unmasked behavior can lead to outbreaks among unvaccinated people.
A study published Thursday described a Covid-19 outbreak among more than 150 students at a university in Chicago after many unvaccinated students traveled during the spring break, despite university guidelines advising against it.
To prevent similar outbreaks, some universities have introduced mandates to attend classes in person.
Virginia Tech has de-registered 134 students for failing to meet the university’s requirement to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and “fail to submit vaccination documents or receive a medical or religious exception,” according to a statement Monday.
The University of Virginia also de-registered more than 200 students for failing to vaccinate, according to a statement last month. Vaccinations in adolescents and adults can not only ward off infections in schools, but also protect children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for the vaccine.
“Communities with high immunization rates have fewer cases of children and fewer hospitalizations,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
In addition to vaccinations, wearing masks is also beneficial in containing the spread of Covid-19, evidence shows.
New York State will require weekly Covid-19 tests for teachers and other school staff, with an opt-out for those who are vaccinated, and will continue her masking mandate for everyone in a school building, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday.
In Florida, districts can introduce masking requirements after a judge signed a written order Thursday ruling against Governor Ron DeSantis’ ban on such mandates in schools. DeSantis said he would appeal.
New Mu variant is under observation
A new variant of the coronavirus, known as Mu by the World Health Organization, is being monitored as an “interesting variant,” but federal health officials say they do not think it is immediately dangerous.
On Tuesday, the WHO classified the B.1.621 variant as “interesting variant” because it carries mutations that could help to partially bypass vaccines and treatments such as monoclonal antibodies. The WHO named it Mu after their system to denote important variants with the Greek alphabet.
“This variant has a constellation of mutations that suggest it would evade certain antibodies,” Fauci told Mu on Thursday. “Not just monoclonal antibodies, but also antibodies induced by vaccines and convalescent serum. But there isn’t a lot of clinical data to suggest it – it’s mostly laboratory, in vitro data.
“So as not to downplay it – we take it very seriously. But remember, even if you have variants that reduce the effectiveness of vaccines a little, the vaccines against variants of that type are still quite effective. We take all of this seriously. But we don’t see it as an imminent threat right now, “he said.
The Delta variant still accounts for more than 99% of the Covid-19 cases diagnosed and sequenced in the United States, Walensky said Thursday, while Mu is rare.
“We’re watching it carefully,” she said.
CNN’s Maggie Fox, Lauren Mascarenhas, Jacqueline Howard, Deidre McPhillips, Naomi Thomas, Elizabeth Stuart, Rob Frehse, Hannah Sarisohn, Sara Weisfeldt and Leyla Santiago contributed to this report.