(AP) — The government's top infectious diseases expert said Sunday that it's "entirely conceivable, perhaps even likely" that Americans will need a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
in the coming months, but it's too soon to recommend another shot.
Dr. Anthony Fauci
, President Joe Biden
's chief medical adviser, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
and the Food and Drug Administration
did the right thing last week when they pushed back against drugmaker Pfizer
's assertion about a booster within 12 months. The two agencies said they did n
Clinical studies and laboratory data, according to Fauci, have yet to fully support the need for a booster vaccine to the current two-shot Pfizer and Moderna
vaccine regimens or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson
"Given the data and information we have, we do not need to give people
a third shot," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, adding that studies are currently being conducted to determine "if and when we should be boosting people." #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/rsKMaGEUFS — State of the Union
(@CNNSotu) July 11, 2021
“Right now, given the data and information we have, we do not need to give people a third chance,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean we stop there.” “There are studies being done now that are ongoing about looking at the feasibility of if and when we should be boosting people,” he added.
He said it was quite possible that the government would urge a boost in the coming months “as data evolves” based on factors such as age and underlying medical conditions. “Certainly it is entirely conceivable, maybe even likely at some point, we will need a boost,” Fauci said.
Currently, only about 48% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and in those areas, the delta variant
is on the rise. Last week, Dr. Rochelle Walensky
, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that this is leading to “two truths” — highly immunized swaths of America are returning to normal, while hospitalizations in other areas are increasing.
On Sunday, Fauci said it was inexplicable that some Americans are so resistant to getting a vaccine when scientific evidence shows how effective it is in preventing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, and he was disheartened by efforts to stymie efforts to make vaccinations
more accessible, such as Biden's suggestion of door-to-door outreach.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson
, R-Ark., agreed on Sunday that vaccine resistance exists in Southern and rural states
like his because “you have that more conservative approach, skepticism about government.”
Hutchinson described his efforts to increase vaccinations in his state, which is seeing an increase in infections, saying that “no one wants an agent knocking on a door,” but that “we do want those who do not have access otherwise to make sure they are aware.”
The grassroots component of the federal vaccination campaign has been in operation since April
, when supply of shots began to outstrip demand; it was outlined and funded by Congress
in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passed in March, and it is overwhelmingly carried out by local officials, private sector workers, and volunteers.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger
, R-Ill., blasted Republican
lawmakers' opposition to vaccination efforts as "absolute insanity," saying House
Republican leader Kevin McCarthy
and others in the party must speak out against "these absolute clown politicians
playing on your vaccine fears for their own selfish gain."
Fauci appeared on CNN's "State of the Union," ABC
's "This Week," and CBS' "Face the Nation," while Hutchinson appeared on ABC and Kinzinger on CNN.