Anthony Fauci: ‘We Don’t Know For Sure’ How Long Coronavirus Vaccine Protection Lasts

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a hearing looking into the budget estimates for National Institute of Health (NIH) and the state of medical research on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 26, 2021. (Photo by SARAH SILBIGER / POOL / …
SARAH SILBIGER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday said officials remain unsure of how long vaccines will provide protection from the Chinese coronavirus.

When asked about how long virus protection lasts, the White House chief medical adviser told NPR’s Morning Edition, “We don’t know for sure.”

“We certainly know that it’s several months up to a year, because people who have been vaccinated early on, the original people who were vaccinated, seemed to continue to have protection,” Fauci said.

“What we do is we monitor cohorts of people who have been in clinical trial, both for laboratory indication of durability, of protection, as well as clinical indication,” he continued, explaining that they are preparing to “boost” people:

For example, if we start seeing breakthrough infections, there’s a thing called correlate of immunity, which is a laboratory test that you could follow. And as that goes below a certain threshold, then you know you’re going to have to give someone a booster. So we’re preparing to boost people, but we don’t know at exactly what point we will have to do that. But we’re doing tests right now, clinical trials to determine various options for boosting people.

Last month, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director estimated that vaccinated Americans will need a booster shot within a year of their first jab.

“I think we will almost certainly require a booster sometime within a year or so, after getting the primary [shot], because the durability of protection against coronaviruses is generally not lifelong,” Fauci said at a coronavirus event sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.

“We know that the vaccine durability of the efficacy lasts at least six months, and likely considerably more, but I think we will almost certainly require a booster sometime within a year or so after getting the primary,” Fauci said, falling in line with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, who said in April that an extra booster shot may be necessary.
“Every year, you need to go to get your flu vaccine,” Bourla said. “It’s going to be the same with COVID. In a year, you will have to go and get your annual shot for Covid to be protected.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) June 17 data shows over 175 million people in the U.S. receiving at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, representing 53 percent of the population. That falls short of the Biden administration’s goal to see at least 70 percent of the U.S. population at least partially vaccinated by the Fourth of July.
According to the CDC, over 147 million are considered “fully vaccinated,” representing 44.5 percent of the nation’s population.

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