Dr. Stressing the importance of getting more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 on Sunday, Anthony Fauci argued that there should be “no confusion” that vaccinations – as opposed to booster vaccinations – remain key to fighting the pandemic.
“Vaccinating the unvaccinated remains our top priority,” said Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, on NBC News’ Meet the Press. “And there shouldn’t be any confusion about that. The top priority is not to get boosters. We think giving boosters to people is important, but overwhelmingly the highest priority is vaccinating the unvaccinated. “
Fauci told host Chuck Todd that booster vaccinations were not a “luxury,” and he defended President Joe Biden’s earlier announcement that boosters would become more widely available before the Food and Drug Administration fully investigated their effects on younger people.
An advisory panel last week asked the agency to recommend Pfizer booster vaccinations only for those at high risk and those aged 65 and over. Pfizer booster vaccinations for these people could officially be launched as early as this week, Fauci said. He noted that more data from vaccine makers Moderna and Johnson & Johnson will become available within weeks and may rephrase the recommendations.
“The dates are literally a few to a few weeks away,” he said. “We’re working on getting the data to the FDA so they can review it and make a decision about the boosters for these people. You will definitely not be left behind. “
Health experts and public health officials have hoped that booster doses could help combat the Delta variant of the virus, which has proven to be far more contagious than the virus that first spread around the world last year.
Approximately 65% of the total Massachusetts population is now fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people make up the majority of new infections and hospital admissions.
A MassLive analysis of COVID vaccination data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that approximately 60% of newly reported infections in the state are unvaccinated. About 60 to 75 percent of patients in the hospital who test positive for the virus are not fully vaccinated.