Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday said that he was “certain” that Americans would need booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine but how long they’ll need to wait to get them could change.
“I’m certain we’re going to need that third dose, looking at the data that we’re seeing,” the White House chief medical advisor said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Fauci said that the White House was moving ahead with plans to give out the boosters eight months after people received their second shot, but they “were open to data” that suggests the dose should be available sooner.
“Right now, we’re sticking with eight [months] but we’re totally open to any variation in that based on the data,” Fauci said.
Fauci had been in talks last week with President Biden about whether booster shots should be available to Americans as early as five months after the vaccine.
“The question raised is should it be shorter than eight months? Should it be as little as five months? That’s being discussed. I spoke with Dr. Fauci this morning about that,” Biden said on Friday.
Pfizer’s third dose has proven to dramatically improve the body’s ability to fight the virus — and the company has requested FDA approval for a booster shot for their two-dose vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine also boosts protection with an extra shot, the company said.
The plans for the booster campaign comes as the country grapples with a resurgence caused by the Delta variant, which has complicated efforts to return to workplaces and schools.
Fauci on Sunday encouraged schools to implement vaccine requirements for students.
“I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea,” Fauci said on CNN.
“We’ve done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis. So this would not be something new.”