Former FDA commissioner says CDC will likely eventually require COVID-19 booster to be ‘fully vaccinated’

Scott Gottlieb
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb during a November 7 appearance on "Face the Nation."
  • Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the CDC may eventually consider a person "fully vaccinated" against the coronavirus if they have received a booster vaccine dose.
  • But the change is unlikely to happen this year due to ongoing debates about booster doses, he said.
  • The FDA last week issued an emergency use authorization for booster shots to all adults six months from their last vaccine dose.

Scott Gottlieb, the former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday that the US officials might eventually consider people "fully vaccinated" for COVID-19 only if they've had their additional booster dose of the vaccine. 

"I think at some point they're going to, but not this year, I think eventually this will be considered the three-dose vaccine, but I would be hard-pressed to believe CDC is going to make that recommendation any time soon, in part because of this debate about whether or not younger people who are less risk should be receiving that third dose," Gottlieb said during an appearance during CBS' "Face the Nation."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Sunday said the federal government's definition of fully vaccinated was not changing at present.

That means people who had two doses of the mRNA Pfizer or Moderna vaccines continue to be considered fully vaccinated, as do individuals who received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

 

Fauci on Sunday, during an appearance on ABC News' "This Week," said health officials were monitoring people who received booster shots to see what the "durability of that protection is." 

As Insider previously reported, the US Food and Drug Administration last week expanded its emergency authorization for booster shot eligibility, making all adults eligible to receive them after previously allowing them for older and at-risk populations.

Some state leaders have suggested their definition of fully vaccinated has changed, now requiring the booster dose.

"I think in cases where entities are going to mandate three doses for people who are six months out from the second dose, they're doing that because they're using the vaccine as a way to control transmission and try to end this pandemic," Gottlieb said Sunday.

"And you know, there are people in the public health committee who don't think that that's an inappropriate way to use the vaccine. But this is a debate that's going on right now in the public health community. And CDC's sort of stuttering approach to how they've embraced boosters is reflective of that debate," he added.

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