Dr Anthony Fauci has said advice for Americans to receive a booster shot eight months after they complete their COVID vaccine is ‘flexible,’ and added that he thought school vaccine mandates which force children to have the shots are a ‘good idea.’
‘We’re still planning on eight months. That was the calculation we made. This rollout will start on the week of September the 20th,’ Fauci told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday.
‘But as we’ve said all along, Chuck, in the original statement, that’s the plan that we have, but we are open to data as they come in.
‘We’re not changing it, but we are very open to new data as it comes in. We’re going to be very flexible about it.’
The news comes as COVID-19 cases, and deaths, continue to spike, with 38,341,339 total cases reported as of Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control reports a 7-day average of 142,006 cases for this week – nearly a three percent increase since last week, where the average stood at 138,087 cases.
The current 7-day average is a whopping 107.2 percent higher compared to the peak of 68,522 cases observed on July 20, 2020.
Meanwhile, the current 7-day average of new deaths, 864, has increased 11 percent compared with the previous 7-day average of 779 last week. So far, there have been a total of 637,000 deaths nationwide that were caused by the virus since the onset of the pandemic back in March 2020, the CDC reports.
Fauci added that the coronavirus booster shot is still pending formal approval from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as an Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory committee.
While Fauci maintains that the 8-month timeline is still very much the goal, he left room open for possible delays as health officials monitor data day-to-day
Fauci said it was a ‘good idea’ for schools to force children to get their COVID-19 shots amidst discussions on the booster shot rollout, adding that doing so would hardly be the first time
Both have offered guidance that booster shots – a third for people who received Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine, and a second for patients who had the one-shot Johnson & Josnson vaccine – be administered eight months after completion.
Many Americans, including those vulnerable to COVID who were vaccinated at the start of this year, have already begun to receive their boosters.
Explaining his current flexibility on the date range, Fauci added: ‘The data has been collected and we should have enough data by, I would say, the end of September, middle to end of September, early October, so that those data can then be presented to the FDA to examine for the risk benefit ratio of safety and effectiveness,’ Fauci added.
If anything, the timeframe for receiving the third booster shot could come sooner than expected, as President Joe Biden says following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday.
The two discussed the possibility of decreasing the timeline between the second and third vaccine shots, according to The Hill.
‘We’re still sticking with 8-months. We’re not changing it, but we are very open to new data as it comes in. We’re going to be very flexible about it,’ Fauci said on Sunday
A medical worker in a school hall administers a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to a student of the Leibniz-Montessori secondary school, amid the coronavirus disease pandemic
Fauci added that the booster shot is still pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as an Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory committee
‘The question raised is: Should it be shorter than eight months? Should it be as little as five months? And that’s being discussed,’ Biden said.
Meanwhile, Fauci said it was a ‘good idea’ for schools to force children to get their COVID-19 vaccinations amidst discussions on the booster shot rollout, while adding that doing so would hardly be the first time.
The chief medical adviser for the White House cited the growing prevalence of the highly-contagious delta variant, as well as the fact that students already need a variety of booster shots for school, as reasons to further vaccinate children from the coronavirus.
‘I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea,’ Fauci said Sunday in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union.
‘We’ve done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis. So this would not be something new requiring vaccinations for children to come to school.’
Fauci, who has become a target of criticism by members of the GOP over the last year, told CNN that said criticism is ‘just a reflection of the politicization of what should be a purely public health issue and it’s really unfortunate.’
The COVID tsar spoke as new research published in The Lancet Infectious Disease journal showed that the Indian Delta strain of COVID could double the risk of hospitalization among those who have not been vaccinated.
Those findings came from a study of UK hospital patients admitted with the virus, whose genomes were sequenced to discover which variant of COVID they had.