If You Got Moderna or J&J, Dr. Fauci Says Here's the Latest on Boosters
As we type this, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting to vote on whether or not to recommend COVID boosters for those who got the Moderna and J&J vaccine. (Yesterday, the FDA authorized the doses, and said any brand can be used as a booster—a "mix and match" process.) In fact, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC, is expected to vote in favor of these boosters as soon as tonight. With this in mind, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on CBS This Morning to answer questions about the boosters. 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 Here's Why We'll All Need Boosters at Some Point
"How safe should you feel if you've been vaccinated, but you don't have a booster yet, especially those who've got the J&J vaccine. What are your thoughts on that?" asked host Gayle King. "Well, first of all, the vaccines from the original regimen that we got are still holding really quite well when it comes to protection against disease and hospitalization. But we know from our own experience here in the United States, as well as more extended experience in Israel, that after a period of time, that protection way protects against severe pretty well, but protection against infection. And then ultimately against severe disease tends to diminish over time. So even though people right now have been vaccinated within the last several months can feel uncomfortable. If you really want to have the optimal protection, you know, that the people who are qualifying and eligible to get the booster should do with the good news about what you just mentioned in your announcement is that now everything is a level playing field. Those who got JJ, those who got Moderna, and those who've got Pfizer, there's availability now to get boosters for all of those people that were in those three separate groups."
Dr. Fauci Said This About J&J Specifically—With Advice for Women
Dr. Fauci was asked if a J&J person should get a J&J booster, given that Dr. Fauci has said recently J&J should have been a two shot dose all along, raising some concern. "It really depends on your own individual preference and consulting with your physician about where you fall in, for example, your age or your gender, or whether or not you're a man or a woman," said Dr. Fauci. "There are different risks for adverse events, which are really very, very rare and very, very low, but in a certain situation, for example, if I were a woman, I would probably not have any problem at all with an mRNA because the rare, rare adverse event with mRNA vaccines is almost exclusively seen in young men. So you really have to balance what the risk benefit is. But I want to emphasize that the risk of adverse events is really very, very low."
Dr. Fauci Hopes Any Confusion About "Mixing and Matching" Boosters Will be Cleared Up Soon
"I think now with the announcement that was just made from the FDA and the recommendations that will almost certainly come imminently very soon, certainly from the CDC"—which may issue booster advice as soon as today—"that things will really be very clear of what people can and should do. When you have three separate vaccines that have different characteristics, that can be confusion. But I think right now, things are going to be pretty clear when people hear what this available to them. And as we mentioned, the mix and match really gives a good deal of flexibility to people in whatever it is that they want to choose at the CDC. I am sure come out with some pretty clear recommendations, depending upon what category you fit into."
Dr. Fauci Said Kids 5-11 May Get Their Vaccines Soon
Next week, the CDC is expected to discuss boosters for kids ages 5 to 11. Fauci appeared on NBC's Nightly News with Lester Holt to discuss this yesterday. Americans have differing opinions about taking the vaccine themselves; how might they feel about giving it to kids, Holt asked. "I hope they'll be enthusiastic about it," said Fauci. "Children of all ages do get infected as readily as adults. Many of them have asymptomatic infection, so you don't notice it, but they do get infected and they do pass the infection. So we would hope that family members who are responsible for the children will realize that and will be enthusiastic about getting their children vaccinated." Dr. Fauci had added this context earlier yesterday at the COVID press briefing. "Months ago it was felt, based on the data with Alpha predominantly, that children do not get infected as much. And if they do, they don't spread the infection in the home setting." But that has changed. "A recent paper just came out that actually showed on the contrary in the era of Delta children get infected as readily as adults do, and they transmit the infection as readily as the adults do. We may not appreciate that because about 50% of the infections in children are asymptomatic," he said.
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.
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