Why doesn’t ‘fully vaccinated’ for COVID-19 mean booster shots?

Despite new data showing the effectiveness of boosters and the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases due to the more infectious omicron variant, the CDC has no plans to change its definition of “fully vaccinated.” The term still means two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines or one shot of Johnson & Johnson. Instead, the agency is pivoting to the more general descriptor of “up to date” to describe effective vaccine protection.

At Friday’s White House press briefing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was asked by CNN, “Can you explain why the CDC is not changing the definition of ‘fully vaccinated,’ given that could potentially encourage more people to get a third shot?” The US has currently boosted 85.5 million people, or about 40% of people considered fully vaccinated.

Walensky responded: “In public health, for all vaccines, we’ve talked about being up to date for your vaccines. Every year, you need a flu shot; you’re not up to date with your flu shot until you’ve gotten your flu shot for that year. … What we really are working to do is pivot the language to make sure that everybody is as up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines as they personally could be.”

Despite the CDC’s reticence to change the definition, many organizations and governments who use the term “fully vaccinated” are adding booster requirements to their COVID-19 rules. Read on to learn which colleges, businesses and countries now require boosters.

For more, here’s the latest on the Moderna booster shots, what you need to know about the Pfizer antiviral pill and how to pick between the vaccine boosters. The article continues below.

How many doses do you need to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’?

According to the CDC, you’re fully vaccinated two weeks after you receive your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

The CDC also considers you fully vaccinated if you received any single-dose vaccine listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization or any combination of the two-dose vaccines approved by the FDA or listed by the WHO for emergency use.

Though that official definition of “fully vaccinated” isn’t likely to change, the CDC website replaced the term “fully vaccinated,” meaning maximally protected, with the more general descriptor “up to date.”

White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has said three shots should be considered the new baseline — part of the primary series of vaccinations rather than a “booster.”

Fauci said his team has moved away from using “fully vaccinated” altogether, in favor of  the phrase “keeping your vaccinations up to date.”

“Right now, optimal protection is with a third shot of an mRNA or a second shot of a J&J,” Fauci said at a National Institutes of Health presentation in early January…Read more>>


Register Form

Email Address
Phone No