Will Americans need another booster shot in the future? Dr. Fauci isn't sure: COVID-19 updates




  • In Business
  • 2021-11-23 12:25:29Z
  • By USA TODAY
 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, isn't sure if Americans will need another COVID-19 booster in the future.

"The honest answer is that we do not know at this point, but we're collecting data," Fauci said Monday at a White House briefing. "We may not need to get boosted every six months or so but if we do, we'll address it. We'll find the data, make it public and address it accordingly."

Fauci said multiple studies from across the globe have made it clear that boosters "significantly enhance protection" from COVID-19. The hope is that the booster dose gives the immune response "a chance to mature and strengthen" significantly, he said, and last longer than the second dose, which waned in effectiveness after several months.

Boosters are currently available at more than 80,000 locations nationwide and about 36% of Americans have already been boosted, said Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator.

There's been an 8% increase in COVID-19 cases nationwide compared to last week and an average of 1,000 deaths per day. But CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said America is "heading into a very different Thanksgiving than last year because now we have the tools" to fight the pandemic, which she said has continued because of unvaccinated individuals.

Walensky and Fauci encouraged Americans to gather for the holiday season so long as they're doing so safely, which means adhering to all the "prevention measures" including getting vaccinated and wearing masks when applicable. Taking a rapid test before gathering with people from a different household could be considered an extra layer of protection, Walensky said. Read more about boosters here.

Also in the news:

►The Department of Defense announced Monday that it awarded Pfizer $1.4 billion for an additional 200 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, which will be distributed internationally.

►Republican legislators moved Monday to make it easy for workers in Kansas to claim religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but their leaders were divided over whether they also needed to promise unemployment benefits for people refusing the shots.

????Today's numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 47.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 772,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 258 million cases and 5.1 million deaths. More than 196 million Americans - 59.2% of the population - are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

???? What we're reading: When New York City opened schools in person this fall, with no online option, some families kept kids home. Some parents say they have been accused of neglect.

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