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Dr. Fauci Clarifies if You'll Need Vaccine Booster

Dr. Fauci was asked when we’d all need another shot, in addition to the ones we’ve already gotten.  
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

You've got your COVID-19 vaccine, or are about to—but how long will that protection last? Will you need a booster shot? Or have to go back every year, like you do for flu shots? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke about this with CNN's Jim Acosta. The two also discussed when you could take your mask off this summer, among other subjects. Read on for 5 key takeaways that might save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.


Dr. Fauci Offered Clarification About Vaccine Boosters

Our batting average ranked from last month but that's the reality

Dr. Fauci was asked when we'd all need another shot, in addition to the ones we've already gotten. "So one of the things that I've noticed, there's been some confusion about, that I like to clarify, that when you talk about the need of a third shot in the two shot regimen, you're not talking about efficacy because right now, I mean, right away, 14 days after your second dose, you have a very, very effective vaccine and you are highly, highly protected," said Dr. Fauci. As for when you might need a booster? "You know, Jim, we don't know," said Dr. Fauci. "I mean, likely it'll be a shot and it might be one that you'll need periodically—similar to what we do with influenza. We don't know that, but you want to be prepared for it. And that's exactly what we're doing. We're staying prepared unless the durability starts to go down. We want to be prepared to keep it up at a level that's highly protective."


Dr. Fauci Said You'll Soon Hear About Going Outside Without a Mask

Female Wearing Face Mask and Social Distancing

The CDC is expected to announce tomorrow new guidance for when you need and don't need a mask outside. "The one thing for sure is that thing that's on a lot of people's minds is what about outdoors?" said Dr. Fauci. "Cause obviously a lot of people are going to be spending a lot of time more outdoors now because the weather is getting really nice—beautiful spring weather. You're going to be seeing people wanting to do things outdoors without masks. And it's common sense to know that the risk when you are outdoors, which we have been saying all along, is extremely low. And if you are vaccinated, it's even lower. So you're going to be hearing about those kinds of recommendations soon."


Dr. Fauci Said He Wishes Everyone Would Show Up for Their Second Shot

African American man in antiviral mask gesturing thumb up during coronavirus vaccination, approving of covid-19 immunization

"We've learned this morning from the CDC that about 8% of Americans have missed their second dose back in March. That number was just over 3%. I know you're a numbers guy. I know you're a data guy. What are the implications of that?" asked Acosta.

Dr. Fauci said it was natural that some people would forget, or otherwise not be able to get their second dose. "I'd like it to be a 0%," he said, "but I'm not surprised that there are some people who do that. In fact, when you have other vaccines, such as the herpes zoster vaccine, that's the kind of thing that the percentage of people who don't show up for the second dose is even more than that. So that's not something that's specific to the" COVID vaccine, he said.


Dr. Fauci Said He Hopes the J&J Pause Fosters a Sense of Security, Not Doubt

Syringe Injection placed against Johnson and Johnson logo

Dr. Fauci was asked about the pause—and then restart—of the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has been linked to 13 cases of blood clots among women. "One of the things that I think people aren't fully appreciating," said Dr. Fauci, "is that when you talk to people, many of them realize that the very fact that the CDC and the FDA caused this temporary pause really is a reflection of how seriously we take safety. So as opposed to being something that is going against people getting vaccines, I think they're going to realize if you ask somebody why they're hesitant, there are a number of reasons. One of them that's a predominant reason is that people might be concerned about safety." And he hopes the CDC taking precautions makes you feel they are safe.

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Dr. Fauci Says Here's What We Need to Get Back to Normal

Friends at an evening dinner party.

"Scientists believe 70 to 85% of the population must be fully vaccinated," said Acosta, "so we can return to pre pandemic life as we knew it….Do you think we're going to hit that target number that we're looking for?"

"We are estimating—because we don't know—we're estimating that that's about 70 to 85%. However, even before you get to that, as you get more and more people vaccinated, you will reach a point even before them, where you'll start to see the number of cases going down dramatically—not necessarily complete total protection, but the number of cases going down dramatically. Right now, we're averaging about 60,000 cases per day. On a seven day average, as we get lower and lower and lower, you're going to be seeing a gradual diminution of the restrictions and a more progressive moving towards normality. It's not going to be like a light switch on and off we go from where we are right now to completely normal. It's going to be a gradual getting with regards to what you can do—outdoors, which you can do travel, outdoor sports, stadiums, theaters, restaurants, little by little. You'll be seeing that approach to normal."


How to Get to "Normal" Faster

Young man wearing two face masks.

So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, 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, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, 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