“Fully vaccinated” against COVID? Wall Street and the NFL say you need a booster


Redefining “fully vaccinated” to include booster shots could affect COVID-19 restrictions in many US states.

Sarah Tew / CNET

For the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit WHO and CDC websites.

As the the omicron variant dominates in the United States, health officials and various organizations are reexamining what it means to be fully immunized. While previously very rare, breakthrough infections – cases of COVID in people who have completed vaccination – have skyrocketed with omicron. Monday, Hindu reports that 836 of the 1,636 daily cases in Kerala, India were breakthroughs.

Recent evidence strongly suggests
that booster shots are needed to protect against new omicron variant. Health officials are now questioning whether the term “fully vaccinated” should be changed to include the boosters.

The CDC has not yet changed its definition. His COVID-19 reminder page currently states: “Everyone is still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-shot series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single dose vaccine, such as the J&J vaccine / Janssen. “

While government agencies haven’t made the switch, many colleges, businesses, and the NFL are already in need of boosters. On Monday, Wall Street banking giant Goldman Sachs announced the requirement for booster doses by February 1 for all employees entering its offices, according to Bloomberg. The financial services company intends to fire its employees to its offices despite the increase in the number of omicron cases.

Tuesday the The NFL announced that all media covering the NFL playoffs or the Super Bowl will need to have received a reminder for COVID-19 from January 14. Earlier this month, the NFL mandated booster shots for coaches and staff (but not the players) by December 27.

Colleges and universities aren’t waiting either. On November 23, Wesleyan University of Connecticut became the first college to make boosters mandatory for students, from 2022. Several other colleges in the northeast quickly followed suit, including Syracuse University, Smith College and New York University.

This week, Rice University, Howard University, Providence College and Virginie Tech all have joined the ranks of colleges requiring booster injections for students from the next semester, along with all staff and faculty. A list of colleges requiring callbacks can be found at Best Colleges.

Here’s what we know today about why the definition of fully immunized may change to include booster shots. To find out more, here is the latest news on the Moderna booster shots, what you need to know about Pfizer antiviral pill and how choose between vaccine reminders.

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Can you get COVID if you are fully immunized or receive a booster?

While two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine combined with a booster do not provide complete protection against COVID-19 infection, the vaccines provide a strong defense against virus capture and serious illness. Walensky said on Wednesday that an unvaccinated person has a 10 times higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 and a 20 times higher risk of dying compared to those who are vaccinated and boosted.

How many doses of COVID vaccine do you need to be considered “fully immunized”?

According to the CDC, you are fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The CDC also considers you to be fully vaccinated if you have received a single dose vaccine. listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization Where any combination two-dose vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration or WHO listed for emergency use.

However, that could change soon. “We are reviewing the definition right now,” CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday. during a briefing at the White House about changing the way the CDC defines “fully vaccinated.”

“This assessment is currently underway,” she said. “But to be very clear, our recommendations need to be strengthened.”

Last week, Dr.Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, was asked on MSNBC whether the definition of fully immunized would be updated to include booster shots. His answer ? “You know, it could very well.

Why would the definition of “fully vaccinated” be changed from two doses of mRNA vaccines to three?

This month, as preliminary studies showed omicron’s ability to infect those considered fully vaccinated, the definition began to shift, if not formally, at least practically, from two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccine. at three.

“As far as I’m concerned – I say this very clearly – if you want to be optimally protected, boost yourself”, Fauci said on CNN’s State of the Union, when asked if three shots would become the norm.

Robert wachter, president of the University of California’s San Francisco Department of Medicine, said he believes the definition change will come soon.

“It’s more and more clear that if you have three hits you’re in pretty good shape,” Wachter said during a COVID-19 online discussion hosted by the San Francisco Chronicle on December 10.

“I think we’ll stop calling people with two fully immunized vaccines within a week or two,” he said. “Omicron is going to make this case quite strikingly.”


How many images should be protected from omicron?

Sarah Tew / CNET

Will we need an omicron-specific booster to guard against the virus?

If two doses of Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are not enough to protect against omicron, would we need a variant-specific booster to restore protection? According to Fauci, no. “At this point, there’s no need for a variant-specific booster,” Fauci said on Wednesday.

But going from the definition of two doses to three is going to take work. CDC says more than 204 million people are currently “fully vaccinated” with Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. That’s 61% percent of the total United States population. However, 60 million people in the United States have received a recall, or just under 30% of the population.

“This is why getting more Americans vaccinated and boosted is at the heart of the president’s plan to fight COVID and tackle omicron this winter,” Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said at the time. from the White House briefing Wednesday.

What about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

Last week the The CDC has recommended that people receive one of the mRNA vaccines
– Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine – instead of Johnson & johnson. The recommendation came days after a preliminary study in South Africa suggested the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine could produce “virtually no antibody protection” against omicron, Bloomberg News reported. The CDC’s recommendation also applies to booster shots.

CNET has reached out to Johnson & Johnson for comment but has not received a response.

What happens next?

Vaccine makers are already asking for three doses as a new standard. “Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against serious disease caused by the omicron strain, it is clear from this preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” said Albert Bourla, president of Pfizer. said in a press release on the first results regarding the continued efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine.

The next step would be for the CDC to change its definition of what it means to be fully immunized. CNET contacted the CDC for comment but did not immediately get a response.

And will there be a fourth shot? Israel has already started to deploy a fourth blow to part of its population. In an interview with WBCS Newsradio 880 on Tuesday, Fauci said he believed it was “too premature” to discuss the fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

To learn more, here’s what we know about the omicron variant and how the the new mutation compares to delta. And this is how store your vaccination card on your phone.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.


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