Three jabs will soon be regarded as necessary for people to gain maximum protection against Covid-19, Dr Anthony Fauci has said.
he statement by the director of America’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, came as the US Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel surprisingly rejected a plan to offer Pfizer booster shots to Americans over 16.
The proposal was made by the drug company and was backed by President Joe Biden’s administration.
The panel later approved offering a third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine to everyone aged 65 and above.
“I believe it’s going to turn out that the proper regimen, at least for an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer’s, is the two original doses, the prime, followed in three to four weeks by a boost, followed several months later by a third shot,” Fauci said.
“I’m favourably disposed to boosts based on the waning of immunity, as we’re seeing very, very clearly in the data in the US and even more dramatic data from our Israeli colleagues.
“There is some indication of waning in the UK, which is the reason the UK has or will soon be vaccinating people 50 years of age and older, as well as healthcare providers and those who are immunocompromised.”
Fauci said it was not yet clear if children would need a third shot, saying: “It’s too early to make that determination.”
He also said he believed children as young as five in the US would be vaccinated by late autumn. He added that the vaccination of children aged between six months and five years would happen “likely some time after”.
He acknowledged that giving vaccines to children at that younger age is not uniformly agreed upon. But, he added: “We are doing the clinical studies right now to extend the vaccination. The data we are collecting on the children in the clinical trial, aged from 11 to 5, will likely be available for evaluation by our regulatory authorities by mid-fall. I would say some time around October or November.
“So, it looks like we will be vaccinating children, before the end of the year, down to five years old, if our regulatory authorities give us the go ahead.”
Fauci said concerns about health impacts on children were “the reasons we do clinical trials”.
The main concern with the Covid-19 vaccine has been myocarditis, but he said that was generally seen in children aged over 12 and into young adulthood.
“Although we don’t expect in the younger children that we’re going to see it, we’re still going to do the studies for safety,” he said.
“If we can establish the safety element of it and the risk-benefit ratio weighs heavily on the benefit, I certainly would be in favour of it. But I want to reserve my opinion until we see the data.”
Fauci supported mask mandates in schools saying, firstly, children should be “surrounded with people who are vaccinated. But that doesn’t necessarily seem to be enough so what we’ve done in the US is strongly recommend there be mask mandates”.
He said mandating vaccines for children was also a “subject of considerable controversy and is still being discussed. There has been no decision on it.”
However, he added: “You know, mandating vaccines for kids in schools is not a new phenomenon.
“We do that all the time with other vaccines, for example measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, polio.
“So, mandating vaccines for children in schools is not unique to Covid-19. It depends on the risk to children.
‘We’re in the middle of a devastating outbreak. We’ve had 650,000 deaths in the United States, and we’re still having about 120,000 new infections a day. We’re in the middle of a very serious situation.”
Fauci said he was “disappointed” but “not surprised” by the huge number of Americans who remain unvaccinated against the virus.
“We have about 72 or 73 million people eligible for vaccination who have not yet been vaccinated. That’s unfortunate because that is a perfect set-up (for) developing mutants that are going to lead to variants that could be problematic.”
“The under-vaccinated regions are very heavily Republican areas. And the areas that are more thoroughly vaccinated are very heavily Democratic states.
“That’s an interesting phenomenon. You would not think that the distribution of vaccination take-up would be so heavily weighted on political ideology,” he added.
© Telegraph Media Group Ltd (2021)