It’s only a matter of time before the definition of fully vaccinated is changed to include a third dose, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday.
“Right now, I don’t see that changing tomorrow or next week,” Fauci said during an appearance on CNN, but added that in his opinion, “it’s going to be a matter of when not if.”
“Certainly, when 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,” Fauci said, but it’s a “technical, almost semantic definition, and it is the definition for requirements.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “fully vaccinated persons are those who are ≥14 days post completion of the primary series of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.”
The term fully vaccinated refers to a person who has received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines or a single shot of Johnson & Johnson.
Fauci previously said changing the definition of what qualifies a person as fully vaccinated to include a booster shot was “on the table.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC — which determines the definition for fully vaccinated — said in October she was open to the possibility of changing the definition when the booster rollout began.
The definition has implications because it is used by those imposing vaccine mandates across the country, including federal mandates for healthcare workers, government contractors and private businesses with more than 100 employees.
Fauci said the timing of the change may be related to the ongoing cases. “It has implications for that, and that’s the reason why it matters,” Fauci said.