Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate hearing on Health, Education, Work and Pensions in the Dirksen Senate office building in Washington, DC, the United States, July 20, 2021.
Stefani Reynolds | Reutesr
The Senior Medical Advisor to the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday he wouldn’t be surprised if the recommended full regimen for the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines in the U.S. is three doses instead of two.
Giving an extra dose, or perhaps a final dose, several months after the primary vaccination helps the immune system mature, said Fauci, also the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.
“I have to say from my own experience as an immunologist that I would not be at all surprised that the appropriate full vaccination schedule will likely be three doses,” Fauci told reporters during a Covid briefing at the White House.
The infectious disease expert’s comments come as the Biden government prepares to begin widespread distribution of Covid booster vaccinations in the week of September 20.
The plan, outlined by senior health officials last month, calls for a third dose eight months after the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
Federal health officials cited three new studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying vaccine protection against Covid infection decreased several months after receiving the second dose.
Health experts say it’s not uncommon for vaccines to require more than two doses. Vaccinations against hepatitis B and HPV, for example, require a third dose, with several months between the second and third vaccination.
While Americans may need to have a third shot at some point, some health experts have urged officials not to refer to them as “boosters.” That’s because, like other vaccines, Americans may not need any booster vaccinations at a later date.
Fauci said Thursday he would leave it up to the Food and Drug Administration and other regulators to make a decision on the full regimen, but added that it was reasonable to believe that three doses would provide a more permanent immune response.
“If it is stable, you will very likely have a three-dose regimen which is the routine treatment,” he said.