By Travis Caldwell
September 3, 2021
(CNN)With the latest Covid-19 surge upending American life yet again, an official rollout of booster doses could begin within weeks pending FDA authorization. And it’s likely that three doses of the vaccine are needed for full protection, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
There was good reason to believe that a third dose “will actually be durable, and if it is durable, then you’re going to have very likely a three-dose regimen being the routine regimen,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a briefing Thursday.
It’s ultimately up to the US Food and Drug Administration to decide whether Americans should get three doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, Fauci said. The agency is considering the question later this month after Moderna and Pfizer both applied for FDA authorization for a third dose either six months or eight months after getting the second dose.
The recommendation for the booster doses will likely lead to availability for a broad portion of the population, and doses could begin rolling out as early as the week of September 20, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Thursday.
“At some point down the line, we may have a way of telling who needs an extra shot, and who doesn’t,” Murthy said on a call hosted by US Health and Human Services’ Covid-19 Community Corps.
“Right now, we don’t have that indicator, which is why we’re recommending that not only people get vaccinated across the board — regardless of whether they were infected in the past or not — but also when it comes to getting these extra doses to sustain and extend your protection, that we do that broadly,” he said.
Additional doses were granted emergency use authorization by the FDA this month for those who are immunocompromised.
Even though the doses are not yet available to the public, local health departments nationwide have seen a recent surge in calls from people wanting to make appointments, according to the National Association of County and City Health Departments.
But the emphasis remains on increasing vaccination rates among the US population to help overcome the pandemic. Approximately 52.7% of the total US population are fully vaccinated. But of the 10 states with the worst Covid-19 case rates over the past week, seven of them also had among the 10 best vaccination rates, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.