COVID boosters: Are you ‘fully vaccinated’ without a third shot?

Americans who are now considered “fully vaccinated” may need booster shots to maintain that status in the future.

Sarah Tew / CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO Y Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.

As the omicron variant leading to a surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S., health officials and organizations are rethinking what it means to be fully vaccinated. Although previously rare, breakthrough infections (COVID cases in people who completed vaccination) have risen sharply with omicron. On Wednesday the Boston Herald reported that Massachusetts saw 20,247 groundbreaking cases of COVID-19 last week, a 45% increase from the previous week.

Recent evidence strongly suggests
that booster injections are needed to protect against the new variant of omicron. Health officials are now discussing whether the term “fully vaccinated” should be changed to include boosters. Thursday, the New York Times reported that the Food and Drug Administration will approve booster shots for teens ages 12-15 within the next week.

The CDC has not yet changed its definition. His COVID-19 Booster Page currently, “everyone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-shot series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J vaccine. / Janssen. “

In a Press conference on COVID-19 at the White House on Wednesday, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond asked CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, “Should people who are more than six months away from their second dose of mRNA or two months away from J&J are no longer considered fully vaccinated?”

Walensky sidestepped the question, saying that “our guidance from the CDC has been very clear that people should be given a boost when they are eligible.” Regarding fully vaccinated people who have not received a booster, Walensky continued: “We know that they have some protection against serious illness and death, but that they have quite a weakness regarding protection against infection. And from these are guidelines. for quarantine, we really wanted to have those measures in place as they have had a little waning protection against infection. “

US government agencies haven’t made the official change, but many colleges, businesses, and the NFL already require reinforcements. On Monday, Wall Street banking giant Goldman Sachs announced the requirement for booster injections by February 1 for employees entering its offices, according to Bloomberg. The financial services company intends to return employees to the offices despite the increase in the number of omicron cases.

Tuesday, the NFL announced that all media covering the NFL playoffs or the Super Bowl will need to have received a booster shot for COVID-19 as of January 14. Earlier this month, the NFL ordered booster dose for coaches and staff (but not players) before December 27.

Colleges and universities are not waiting either. On November 23, Wesleyan University in Connecticut became the first university to make boosters mandatory for students, beginning in 2022. Several other Northeast universities quickly followed suit, including Syracuse University, Smith College Y New York University.

This week, Rice University, Howard University, Providence College and Virginia Tech all joined the ranks of colleges requiring booster shots for students starting next semester, as well as for all staff and faculty. You can find a list of colleges that require reinforcement at Best Universities.

Here’s what we know today about why the definition of fully vaccinated may change to include booster shots. For more information, here is the latest on Modern booster vaccines, what you need to know about Pfizer antiviral pill and how choose between booster shots.


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Can you get COVID if you are fully vaccinated or receive a booster?

While two doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine combined with a booster shot do not provide complete protection against a COVID-19 infection, the vaccines offer a strong defense against contracting the virus and suffering from serious illness. Walensky said Wednesday that an unvaccinated person has a 10 times greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19 and a 20 times greater risk of dying compared to those who are vaccinated and boosted.

How many doses of the COVID vaccine do you need to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you are fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The CDC also considers you fully vaccinated if you received any single dose vaccines. Listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization or any combination of FDA-approved two-dose vaccines or WHO listed for emergency use.

However, that could change soon. “We are looking at the definition right now,” CDC Director Walensky said Wednesday. during a briefing at the White House about changing the way the agency defines “fully vaccinated.”

“That evaluation is currently ongoing,” he said. “But to be very clear, our recommendations are to push.”

Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, was asked on MSNBC if the definition of fully vaccinated would be updated to include booster injections. Your answer? “You know, it very well could.

Why would you change the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ from two doses of mRNA vaccines to three?

This month, when preliminary studies showed omicron’s ability to infect those deemed fully vaccinated, the definition began to shift, if not formally, then virtually, from two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccine to three.

“As for me, I make it very clear, if you want to be optimally protected, get a boost.” Fauci said on CNN’s State of the Union, when asked if three shots would become the standard.

Robert Wachter, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said he believes the definition change will come soon.

“It’s increasingly clear that if you have three shots, you’re in great shape,” Wachter said during a online discussion about COVID-19 Presented by the San Francisco Chronicle on December 10.

“I think we will stop calling people with two fully vaccinated shots in a week or two,” he said. “Omicron is going to make that case pretty vivid.”

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How many shots do you have to protect from omicron?

Sarah Tew / CNET

Will we need a specific omicron booster to protect against the virus?

If two doses of Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are not enough to protect us against omicron, would we need a variant-specific booster to restore protection? According to Fauci, no. “At this point, there is no need for a variant-specific boost.”

But going from the definition of two doses to three will take work. The CDC says nearly 206 million people at this time are “fully vaccinated” with Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. That’s 62% percent of the total population of the United States. Yet only 68 million in the US have received a booster: 33% of the “fully vaccinated” or just over 20% of the total population.

“That is why vaccinating and stimulating more Americans is central to the president’s plan to fight COVID and tackle omicron this winter,” said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, during the White House briefing. Wednesday at the White House.

What about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

On December 16, the CDC recommended mRNA vaccines
from Moderna or Pfizer instead of Johnson & Johnson’s viral vector vaccine. The recommendation came a few days after a preliminary study in South Africa suggested that Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine may produce “virtually no antibody protection” against omicron. Bloomberg News reported. The CDC’s preference for mRNA vaccines also applies to booster injections.

CNET reached out to Johnson & Johnson for comment, but got no response.

Will three doses of vaccine become standard? Four

Vaccine manufacturers are already pushing for three doses as the new standard. “Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the omicron strain, it is clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” said Albert Bourla, president of Pfizer. said in a statement on the first results on the continued efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine.

The next step would be for the CDC to change its definition of what it means to be fully vaccinated. The CDC has continued to define “fully vaccinated” as two injections of the mRNA vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s.

And will there be a fourth shot? Israel has already started rolling out a fourth vaccine for people over 60, medical workers and immunosuppressed people. On Monday, the country launched a global study on the effectiveness of a second booster vaccine, evaluating 150 healthcare workers at Sheba Medical Center. According to Reuters, a spokesperson says the study “will focus on the vaccine’s efficacy in antibody production and safety, in order to determine whether a fourth vaccine is needed overall.”

in a White House press conference Wednesday, Fauci emphasized the importance of first collecting and analyzing the third shot data before considering a fourth shot. Fauci said: “It is conceivable that in the future we will need an additional injection, but, at this point, we hope to get a higher degree of protection durability from that reinforcement injection.

For more information, here is what we know about omicron variant and like him new mutation is compared to delta. And here’s how save your vaccination card to your phone.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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