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Dr. Fauci Just Gave This Essential Booster Advice 

The infectious disease expert spoke about the holidays—and boosters.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Coronavirus cases are declining—but with 65 million eligible Americans still unvaccinated, not fast enough. Furthermore, boosters are being recommended but not for everyone. Confused? 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 host Martha Raddatz to clarify how to stay safe, no matter which shot you got. Read on for five life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Dr. Fauci Said This About Celebrating the Holidays

grandmother carrying turkey for family on thanksgiving dinner

"I believe strongly that it particularly in the vaccinated people, if you vaccinated and your family members have vaccinated, those who are eligible at that is obviously very young children are not yet eligible. That you can enjoy the holidays. You can enjoy Halloween trick or treating, and certainly Thanksgiving with your family and Christmas with your families. That's one of the reasons why we emphasize why it's so important to get vaccinated, not only for your own safety for that of your family, but also for the good of the community to keep the level of infection down when you do that. There's no reason at all, why you can't enjoy the holidays and a family way, the way we've traditionally done it all."

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Dr. Fauci Said Here's When More People May Get Their Boosters

Doctor holding syringe in hospital.

Right now, people over 65 who got Pfizer can get their boosters; when can more people of different ages get theirs? "Well, that's going to depend," said Dr. Fauci, "that's going to really depend on the data that comes in, because what we're dealing with, we're dealing with data rolling in in real time, not only from the cohorts that the CDC is following, but also in real time, we're getting very important data from Israel, because as I've said so often, Israel is about a month or a month, a half a month and a half ahead of us temporarily with their vaccination and with the data that they're seeing about the waning of immunity, as well as the advantage of boosting people at different age groups. So the data we're starting to see from Israel indicates that even in the somewhat younger group, for example, from 40 to 60, there's a real benefit in getting the booster shots. So what we'll be doing here in the United States, both through the FDA and the CDC will be to following these data as they accumulate in real time at any modification of the recommendations will be based on that data as they come in."

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Dr. Fauci Said Here's When Kids 5-11 May Get Their Vaccines

Doctor vaccinating child at hospital.

"The timeline" for kids 5-11 "is that the FDA will be looking at the data from Pfizer. I believe it's October the 26th, they'll make a regulatory determination and then likely the next week, uh, which would probably be the first couple of days in November, then the CDC will do what they do. They'll have their advisory committee on immunization practices, look at the data and make a recommendation. So I think the timeline that we discussed previously is really still on the table"—meaning by early November.

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Dr. Fauci Said this About the J&J Booster

Syringe Injection placed against Johnson and Johnson logo

An FDA panel recommended everyone over 18 who got the J&J shot get a booster. Should those people be worried their shot wasn't so effective, asked Raddatz. "No, not at all," said Dr. Fauci. "I think that they should feel good about it because what the advisers to the FDA felt is that given the data that they saw very likely this should have been a two dose vaccine to begin with. So the idea of record of, of making a recommendation, that people who originally received J&J should receive a second dose 18 or older with none of the restrictions about whether or not you're at a high risk or not at a high risk, is that everyone who received that first dose of J&J who are 18 and older should be secret. So I think that's a very good thing. And I think it's very favorable for those who have received the J&J vaccine. I don't see that as a problem at all." Is getting a Moderna or Pfizer booster after you got the J&J shot recommended? "You know, that is true. The data you referred to that if you boost the people who have originally received  J&J  with either Moderna or Pfizer, the level of antibodies that you induce in them is much higher than if you boost them with the original  J&J. However, you're talking about laboratory data, which very often are reflective of what you would see clinically, but the data of boosting the  J&J  first dose with a  J&J  second dose is based on clinical data. So what's going to happen is that the FDA is going to look at all those data, look at the comparison and make a determination of what they will authorize. Once an authorization is made, then the advisory committee on immunization practices that advisors the CDC will then make a recommendation of what people who have been receiving and had received the J&J  should do. So it's going to be a process of authorization first, and then a recommendation after considering all the data." who Would benefit from "You know, what I think is going to be variable, depending upon who you are. For example, a woman of childbearing age who'd would have almost no issues at all with a possible adverse event of myocarditus, which you see rarely, but you do see it, that person might want to opt for that approach. If you're a young man who does have that very, very rare risk of getting a mild carditis, you might want to take the J&J route. Sowe really think it's going to be individual. So what likely will happen is that both the FDA and their authorization and the CDC will likely give a degree of flexibility based on the individual situation."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

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