Infectious diseases expert and White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci had some rather shocking news on Thursday, saying that he would not be surprised to see the recommended two-dose regimen of the COVID-19 vaccine increase to three, as noted by CNBC.
During his Thursday White House press briefing regarding the coronavirus pandemic, Fauci had been asked if the believed that the United States was going to follow Israel’s example and require their citizens to receive a third dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine so that they could be considered “fully vaccinated.”
“You mentioned the studies in Israel. We’ve seen the Israeli government require people to get a third dose of the vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated. They’re — do you expect a similar change the United States that — you know, that if the third dose after that eight-month waiting period will be required to be, quote, unquote, ‘considered fully vaccinated’ and enjoy the privileges of the freedoms that provides?”
Fauci responded, “The determination whether something is now — constitute ‘fully vaccinated,’ I will leave that up to the FDA when they get the data on the three doses to make that determination — and then, ultimately, a recommendation from the ACIP to the CDC so that it’s recommended.”
“But I must say,” he continued, “from my own experience as an immunologist, I would not at all be surprised that the adequate, full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses. And the reason I say that is that it is very clear when you give a prime and maybe a second shot as a boost — but give the immune system enough chance to mature, in both affinity maturation and maturation of the B cell repertoire, it is entirely understandable why the results that I’ve just reported from the Israeli boosters are so dramatic.”
Fauci is also the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and added that he was going to leave it up to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration whether they wanted the composition of a “full regimen” but he also noted that three doses would likely provide a person with a more durable response.
Fauci added, “And we all hope — and I believe we have good reason to believe — that that only will not be a strong response, but that it will actually be durable. And if it is durable, then you’re going to have — very likely — a three-dose regimen being the routine regimen. But we’ll just have to wait to make sure that that’s the case when the data get presented to the FDA.”
CBS News issued a Friday tweet of Fauci’s remarks, captioning it, “Dr. Fauci says he would be ‘not at all surprised if three vaccine doses become the ‘adequate, full regimen’ for protection from COVID-19.”
“That’s a major milestone in our vaccination effort,” Zients said in his remarks.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases as of last Thursday was more than 150,000 per day.