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Dr. Fauci Said Here's Who Can Get Boosters Now

"First of all, it's a level playing field now, because all three" vaccines can be boosted.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Americans who were vaccinated can now pick from all three coronavirus vaccines, if eligible, but when? And what brand should you get? And what about kids? To answer these questions, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on This Week With George Stephanopoulos to clarify some life-saving advice. Read on for five essential points that could save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Dr. Fauci Said Here's Who Can Get Boosters Now

Woman with face mask getting vaccinated, coronavirus, covid-19 and vaccination concept.

"First of all, it's a level playing field now, because all three of the products that are available to the American public, the mRNAs from Moderna and from Pfizer, as well as the J&J," said Dr. Fauci. "First we had the Pfizer approval, which means that people 65 years of age or older, and those who have underlying conditions that put them at a higher risk and 18 up to 64 of people who either live in or work in a circumstance that put them at higher risk. The criteria for Moderna are the same as the criteria for Pfizer. Most recently, the J&J authorization means that anybody 18 years of age or older, who's received their primary shot within the past two months can get it. So it really shouldn't be confusing." As for when, the official CDC advice is:

"For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

For the nearly 15 million people who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago."

Read on to see which brand you need to get.


Dr. Fauci Said You Can "Mix and Match" Your Vaccine Boosters

Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

"All three products, the mix and match means that under the situation, if you were originally vaccinated with one product, would it be appropriate and safe and effective to get boosted in the third shot" by any brand? "And the answer is it's perfectly fine. We would hope that people, if available. would get the boost from the original product, but if not, there's the flexibility of what we're calling, mixing, and matching. In other words, getting something other than" the brand of their first shot." One study showed that "Johnson and Johnson, the first time around, it's better to get Moderna the second time," said Stephanopoulos. "If you look at the level of antibodies that are induced, in fact, you do, if you originally had  J&J and you would get, for example, a Moderna or a Pfizer, the level of antibodies, namely, the proteins that you would predict would protect you, those levels go up higher with the Moderna boost to J&J than the J&J boost," said Dr. Fauci. "However, it's a little bit more complicated because in the clinical trial that J&J did the clinical effect of the second dose of J&J was quite substantial. So what really becomes an issue of what's the most convenient? What do you feel is best for you? If you have any question about it, you consult your physician. I think the good news about this is that it allows a considerable degree of flexibility for people to get what we hope they will get. Mainly a booster that will increase and optimize their protection."

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Dr. Fauci Said Here's When Kids Might Get Their Vaccines

Child with face mask getting vaccinated

"You never want to get ahead of the FDA in their regulatory decisions, nor do you want to get ahead of the CDC and their advisors on what the recommended would be," said Dr. Fauci. "But if you look at the data that's been made public and announced by the company, the data looked good as to the efficacy and the safety, the FDA and their advisory committee will be meeting next week on October the 26th. And then their regulatory decision will be handed over to the CDC, likely November 2nd or third. So if all goes well and we get the regulatory approval and the recommendation for the CDC, it's entirely, possibly for not very likely that vaccines will be available for children from five to 11 within the first week or second of November."

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CDC Warned Cases are Still Too High. Don't Get Complacent.

Doctor examining female patient in critical health conditions using a stethoscope in the intensive care unit of a modern hospital during covid-19 pandemic

"The numbers actually speak for themselves," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky about the state of the pandemic today. "Cases are down, they're down more than 50% from where they were in September, but we can't get complacent yet. As we said, it's 75,000 cases a day, 1,500 deaths a day. The good news compared to where we were a year ago is that we have vaccines that work and that we have a lot of science that demonstrates how we can protect ourselves and how we can get cases down further. We know it's critically important to get people that donated all those 64 million people who have not yet been vaccinated. And then with scientific review, if we have a vaccine for our five to 11 year olds working to get them vaccinated. And in the meantime, practicing all the proper mitigation strategies so that we can get those case numbers and death numbers down." So is the delta spike over? "I'm really encouraged to watch the numbers go down the last several days. They've been hanging out at around 75,000. And so we still have some hard work ahead of us in order to break, bring those numbers down to where they were in May and June," she said. "I'm encouraged by numbers coming down right now, but I have learned that we can't be complacent and that we need to be humble and that the virus tends to find places that are under vaccinated. So as our case numbers come down, we need to continue to do the hard work of getting more and more people vaccinated to prevent exactly what you described."

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How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek