Chris Lange, FISM News
As COVID-19 vaccine booster shots become more widely available, the definition of what it means to be “fully vaccinated” in America could change, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Currently, those who have received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson version are considered fully vaccinated, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has signaled a coming shift in how that status is defined.
“We have not yet changed the definition of ‘fully vaccinated,’” she told reporters Friday. “We will continue to look at this. We may need to update our definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ in the future.”
The CDC in September recommended booster shots for each of the three vaccines in high-risk individuals, reporting a significant loss in efficacy among the vaccinated population within six months of administered Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and two months of the Johnson & Johnson jab. Last week, they expanded eligibility requirements to include Pfizer- or Moderna-vaccinated individuals aged 65 years and older and those 18 years and up who have underlying medical conditions, live in long-term care facilities, and/or work in “high-risk settings.” Boosters are recommended for anyone 18 years or older who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine within two months from their original vaccination date.
“If you’re eligible for a booster, go ahead and get your booster and we will continue to follow,” said Walensky.
According to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients, over 70 million Americans are currently eligible to receive booster shots. He expects that number to rise to over 120 million in the coming months. “This includes over 60 million vaccinated with Moderna and J&J, on top of the 60 million vaccinated with Pfizer,” he said.
As of Monday, CDC data shows that 66.4 percent of the total U.S. population has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 57.4 percent fully vaccinated. So far, 6.8 percent have received a booster dose.