Get used to that third booster.
“We don’t want to wait until things start going bad and then make a plan.” That’s the message from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser.
Speaking to NPR on Tuesday, Fauci said a lot of lives were saved by the first two coronavirus shots, adding, “But when you want to get to the optimal regimen — I believe the optimal regimen will ultimately be that third shot.”
Asked whether there would be enough supply of vaccine for a third boost for millions of Americans, Fauci replied, “Absolutely. That’s one of the things that was planned well, and why we ordered from companies more than the original order.”
Fauci said the next phase in vaccinations is now moving to “the younger individuals who had not yet gotten vaccinated from the original rollout.” He reiterated that that COVID-19 vaccine rollout for under-12s should begin in the fall.
“ ‘We don’t want to wait until things start going bad and then make a plan.’ ”
As of Tuesday, nearly 62% of the U.S. population had received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 53% had received two doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Speaking on Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Fauci said the Pfizer-BioNTech PFE, -0.34% BNTX, +2.27% shot will likely be the only COVID-19 vaccine booster available by Sept. 20, the Biden administration’s target date to begin offering them.
However, he said Moderna’s MRNA, +3.83% booster might not have approval from the Food and Drug Administration by that date. “It is conceivable that we will only have one of them out, but the other would likely follow soon thereafter,” Fauci added.
Boosters for the public have not received Federal Drug Administration approval. An FDA advisory committee will meet on Sept. 17 to discuss the issue. The regulator is not required to follow the committee’s advice, but it commonly does.
(Mike Murphy contributed to this report.)