‘Our highest priority still, is getting the unvaccinated vaccinated, and there should be no confusion about that,’ Dr. Fauci told NBC News’ Meet the Press host Chuck Todd.
‘The highest priority is not getting boosters,’ he said. ‘We think it’s important to get boosters to people, but the overwhelming highest priority is to vaccinate the unvaccinated.’
The clarification came after Todd asked the nation’s top immunologist about the prioritization of boosters shots and whether it’s a ‘luxury’.
The Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee voted last week to recommend against the Pfizer booster shot for the general public. Shortly after, however, it did approve the shot for elderly Americans and those with pre-existing conditions.
‘I don’t think a booster is a luxury,’ Fauci told NBC.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that ‘the highest priority is not getting boosters’ but getting COVID shots to unvaccinated Americans
Vaccinations rates severely decline in the spring and summer
He also explained in an interview Sunday morning on CNN’s State of the Union that while he is old enough to receive the booster – at 80-years-old – he has not yet gotten it.
‘I am 80 and I’m an elderly person,’ he told host Jake Tapper. ‘I will certainly get a booster.’
Fauci, who heads President Joe Biden’s coronavirus response task force, said that he doesn’t think the FDA made a mistake by not yet advising booster shots.
‘They did that in the proper, deliberative process and they came up with a recommendation, which I think is a good recommendation,’ Fauci said.
He noted that the populations for whom a booster shot is recommended by the FDA is a ‘good chuck’.
Other than those over 65, the FDA said the Pfizer booster is recommended for adults with underlying conditions and those 18 and older who are at a higher risk of exposure – like those in the healthcare industry.
‘They’re going to continue to look at this, literally, in real time,’ Fauci added in his interview with CNN. ‘More data will be coming in on both safety for younger individuals, efficacy.’
‘So the story is not over yet. I think people need to understand that. This is not the end of the story.’
Case rates of COVID-19 have been spiking in the U.S. as the Delta variant surges and more breakthrough cases emerge in vaccinated people
Deaths have also been on the rise as cases spike, reaching event some daily rates at the height of the pandemic in the winter
Biden found himself ahead of the science on this one, saying last month the administration would deliver on a booster shot to enhance the vaccine’s efficiency.
‘The plan is for every adult to get a booster shot eight months after you got your second shot,’ Biden said on August 18. ‘Just remember as a simple rule: Eight months after your second shot, get a booster shot.’
He noted at the time that his administration would be ready to begin the program on September 20.
Some of the nation’s top medical advisers are now warning the White House not to rush it – especially as the advisory board rejected Biden’s plan to give COVID-19 booster shots across the board.
‘Viewed from a global perspective, this is a squandering of a scarce global resource, as a consequence of which people will die,’ Dr. Peter Lurie, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said, according to ABC News. ‘I feel completely comfortable saying this.’
‘It created enormous pressure on the agency to go along with what the White House wanted,’ Lurie added. ‘That’s what we’re trying to get beyond after the Trump era.’
Dr. Paul Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who serves on the FDA advisory board, told reporters after the meeting last week that while the Biden administration had planned for boosters for the general population, ‘that’s not this.’
‘This is: ‘We’re going to test the water one foot at a time,’ he said.