As the Omicron variant spreads across the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday said it's going to be a matter of when, not if, the definition of fully vaccinated changes to include booster shots.
"Is it a matter now of when, not if, the definition of fully vaccinated changes?" asked CNN's Kate Bolduan, referencing data that came out on Wednesday morning from Pfizer stating that three doses of its COIVD-19 vaccine protects against the Omicron variant.
"You know, my own personal opinion, Kate, is, what you said is correct. It's going to be a matter of when not if," responded Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President.
Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Wednesday that three doses of its vaccine was able to protect against the Omicron variant in a laboratory tests according to Reuters.
The two pharmaceutical companies stated that a third dose of the vaccine boosted neutralizing antibodies by a factor of 25.
"The first line of defense, with two doses of vaccination, might be compromised and three doses of vaccination are required to restore protection," BioNTech Chief Medical Officer Ozlem Tuereci said at a press conference. The companies suggested that two doses may still protect against severe disease.
"Pfizer's chief scientific officer said this morning on CNN that he thinks fully vaccinated against Omicron. It means three doses. So do you think the definition of fully vaccinated should now change?" asked Bolduan.
"Well, you know as you say, it's a technical, almost semantic definition and it is the definition for requirements if someone says, 'are you fully vaccinated to be able to attend class in a university or a college or be able to work in a workplace. Right now, Kate, I don't see that changing tomorrow or next week," responded Fauci.
"But certainly if you want to talk about what optimal protection is, I don't think anybody would argue that optimal protection is going to be with a third shot. Whether or not it officially gets changed in the definition, I think that's going to be considered literally on a daily basis. That's always on the table," he added.
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