“I don’t anticipate that the durability of the vaccine protection is going to be infinite — it’s just not,” the infectious disease expert testified before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. “So I would imagine we will need, at some time, a booster. What we’re figuring out right now is what that interval is going to be.”
Fauci said researchers are continuing to monitor those involved in the vaccines’ original clinical trials to determine their resiliency. Thus far, it’s been determined that the protection can last anywhere from six months to a year.
The CEOs of vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna also suggested last week that Americans could need a booster shot eight to 12 months after completing their inoculations.
“People at highest risks (elderly, healthcare workers) were vaccinated in December/January. So I would do [a] September start for those at highest risk,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel told Axios.
Fauci has discouraged naming a timeline, however, until one is certain.
“We may not need it for quite a while,” he said in an interview last week with The Washington Post. “We are preparing for the eventuality that we might need boosters, but I think we better be careful not to let the people know that inevitably X number of months from now, everyone is going to need a booster. That’s just not the case.”
Offering increased protection against emerging variants may also be a reason for booster shots, as one infectious diseases expert recently told HuffPost.
“We know increasingly reassuring information about durability, but the variant question remains open — and a little ominous, I think, as you see what’s happened across the subcontinent, and how we’re getting a rise here in the United States of the Brazilian variant,” said Cameron Wolfe, an associate professor of medicine specializing in infectious diseases with Duke University’s School of Medicine.
Vaccine makers have said they are preparing to make alterations to their vaccines to better fight variants. Moderna recently announced that it has developed a variant-specific booster shot that has been shown to protect those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 against the variants from Brazil and South Africa. Both of those variants were detected in the U.S. in January of this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.