Omicron may change the definition of “fully vaccinated”. What would you like to know

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A new meaning of “fully vaccinated” could affect COVID-19 restrictions in many US states.

Sarah Tew / CNET

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Almost 205 million people in the United States are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which means they received both injections of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or one of the Johnson vaccines & Johnson. However, recent evidence strongly suggests
booster shots are needed to protect yourself new omicron variant.

As the the omicron variant spreads quickly Across the United States – which now accounts for about 73% of new infections – health officials and other organizations are discussing what it means to be “fully vaccinated”.

“We are reviewing the definition at the moment”, Walensky said during a White House briefing Wednesday on 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.”

On Tuesday evening, Dr.Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President 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.

However, some colleges don’t wait for public health agencies to decide. On November 23, Wesleyan University of Connecticut became the first college to make boosters mandatory for students, from 2022. Other colleges in the northeast have followed suit in recent weeks, notably Syracuse University, Smith College, and New York University. A list of colleges requiring booster injections is available at Best Colleges.

Omicron, with its ability to infect those who are fully vaccinated, is forcing health officials to reconsider what it means to be “fully vaccinated”. Here’s what we know today about why the CDC might change the definition from two to three. For more information, where are the latest 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.

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 Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, when asked if three shots would become the norm.

Robert wachter, president of the University of California, 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.”

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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 Wednesday’s White House briefing.

How about getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

This week, the CDC recommended that people get 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.

CNET reached out to Johnson & Johnson for comment but did not immediately get a response.

What happens next?

Vaccine manufacturers 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 vaccinated”. CNET contacted the CDC for comment but did not immediately get a response.

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 doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.

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