Dr. Fauci Warns Boosted People Will Need to Do This to "Keep Protection Up"

The infectious disease expert has said that protection against COVID wanes over time.

Over the past two years of the COVID pandemic, a total of nearly 84 million people in the U.S. have caught the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But it's not just the unvaccinated getting infected at this point. From reality television star Khloé Kardashian to former President Barack Obama, the virus has managed to infect a significant number of vaccinated Americans over the last year. That's because the vaccines are not 100 percent effective against infection and immunity wanes over time, according to the CDC. So while the agency has stopped counting the exact number of breakthrough cases, they likely make up a decent portion of the nearly 95,000 new cases being reported to the CDC every day.

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During a May 29 interview on PIX on Politics, a weekly program on PIX 11 in New York City, top White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, discussed the current state of the pandemic, as well as how vaccinated and boosted people can keep themselves protected. According to the infectious disease expert, the number of COVID cases in the U.S. right not is likely much higher than the CDC's latest data shows.

"With [at-home] home tests, we are likely undercounting the number of cases … because many people don't report it," Fauci explained to host Dan Mannarino. The infectious disease expert added that we do have an accurate report on the total number of COVID-based hospitalizations, however, and that number is still much higher than what experts say the U.S. should be experiencing to move away from the virus.

Fauci also noted that even if we do bring case and hospitalizations numbers down, that won't get rid of the coronavirus altogether. "We're not going to eradicate this," he said, adding that the country has only successfully gotten rid of one virus completely: smallpox. "We certainly will continue to get variants," Fauci predicted. "I believe we're going to be dealing with this virus on a chronic basis."

According to Fauci, the main goal now is to get the virus circulating at such a low level that it no longer disrupts society "to the extent that it has over the past couple of years." But in order to for this to be a likelier occurrence, more  people need to get vaccinated and boosted. The CDC reports that just 66.7 percent of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated so far, and of those, only 46.7 percent of have gotten a booster dose.

"When you talk about boosters now—if you're talking about a third shot, everybody is [eligible] from 12 above to get a third shot. I mean there's no doubt about that," Fauci told Mannarino.

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And some individuals are already eligible for a second booster. In late March, the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized this additional dose for vaccinated people 50 and older and those immunocompromised who are at least four months out from when they received their initial booster. These people should go ahead and "get the fourth shot," Fauci added, especially since the CDC strengthened its recommendation for the second booster earlier this month.

But even if you're not yet eligible for a second booster, Fauci said all Americans should expect to get regular boosters in the future as the pandemic progresses, because "we know that immunity wanes over time [and] we know that you need to be boosted to continue to be protected." According to the infectious disease expert, boosters could be required on a more infrequent basis or we may need shots yearly, like the annual flu vaccine.

"Depending upon what this virus does, there is certainly a reasonably good chance that we will have the same sort of situation that we have with influenza, where every year you have to re-boost people to keep that protection up," Fauci explained.

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