The level of protection vaccines provide against the virus goes down over time, Dr Anthony Fauci explained, citing the Pfizer drug as an example.
The Pfizer vaccine starts out about 90% effective against COVID, he said, going down to about 84 percent several months afterwards. Effectiveness of the Moderna vaccine has not yet been shown to decrease, he added, but Fauci expects that to happen eventually.
“Sooner or later, you’re going to see an attenuation to the point where we’re going to have to give an additional boost to people, very likely the elderly, before you give it to otherwise normal people who are not old,” Fauci told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “That’s going to happen as soon as the data gets to us.”
People with compromised immune systems will likely need booster shots, too, he added.
“If you’re a person who has an immune compromise, transplant, cancer chemotherapy, immunosuppressive therapy, you likely never got a good response to begin with,” Fauci said. “So it isn’t that the durability of the response went down. For those individuals, I am strongly in favor of getting them that additional shot as soon as possible.”
The Food and Drug Administration has been working on a strategy for boosters, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The FDA’s plan will reportedly lay out who needs boosters and when they should get them. It’s expected early next month.
Meanwhile, Pfizer is planning to seek federal authorization for booster shots.
Roughly half the country — about 165 million people — have been vaccinated, according to the federal government.
Coronavirus vaccinations around the world