Meanwhile in the United States, it’s too early to be discussing a potential fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine for most people, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday.
“One of the things that we’re going to be following very carefully is what the durability of the protection is following the third dose of an mRNA vaccine,” Fauci said. Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are mRNA vaccines.
“If the protection is much more durable than the two-dose, non-boosted group, then we may go a significant period of time without requiring a fourth dose,” Fauci said. “So, I do think it’s premature — at least on the part of the United States — to be talking about a fourth dose.”
“If there’s science and when there’s science that demonstrates that that is necessary, we will certainly be reviewing that,” Walensky said.
“Right now, we’re working to make sure that our vaccinated people get a booster,” she said. “We have many vaccines where two shots — primary series — and a booster gives some durable protection. So, while I think it’s an important question to evaluate, it may very well be that we have some added protection by this booster shot right now.”
Even some vaccine makers have acknowledged that more time is needed to determine if or when a fourth dose could be necessary in the United States, and how quickly protection might wane following a third dose.
However, Burton said he did not want to downplay the importance of boosters right now, and that people can be confident in that “getting a booster shot will provide protection throughout the holiday season and throughout these winter months.”
Immunocompromised may need fourth dose, CDC says
For moderately or severely immunocompromised people who received a two-dose Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine series, the CDC recommends a third primary dose to increase protection against Covid-19, and notes that a subsequent dose may be administered.
In the future, some doctors anticipate that the United States could roll out fourth doses of coronavirus vaccine to more people, similar to Israel’s approach.
Reiner added that Israel has taken the approach to “boost people that are most in harm’s way now,” such as health care workers, older adults, and people with preexisting illnesses or who are immunocompromised from medical treatments.
“So with more cases mounting around the world, it makes sense to take care of the health care system,” Reiner told Cabrera.
“That’s what the Israelis are going to do, and it’s clear to me that’s what we’re going to do. We’re just going to take it at an unnecessary, unacceptably long period of time to get to the point where we get a fourth dose. And I want to see a sense of urgency. Even more than urgency, I want to see a sense of nimbleness,” Reiner said. “It’s clear that we’re going to boost. We’re going to give a fourth dose to at least a big portion of this population.”
CNN’s Virginia Langmaid and Amanda Sealy contributed to this report.