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Changes expected for fully vaccinated

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 4:04 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The White House’s top infectious disease doctor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said there are no changes in what it means to be fully vaccinated, at least for now. That could change, especially with the spread of the Omicron variant. Dr. Fauci said two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine provides full vaccination, but he says a booster is needed.

Vaccinations are up in Alabama with most of those vaccinations are booster shots. Originally, health leaders said you are fully vaccinated with just the two shots of Pfizer or the Moderna shots or one shot of Johnson and Johnson. As the country learned more about variant viruses, that could change. “People who are looking for absolute goalposts that never move, that never move? They don’t exist in science,” Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association said.

It now appears the vaccines wane after six months. The spread of the Omicron variant is expected to be even more contagious than the already contagious Delta variant. Dr. Williamson expected to see the definition of fully vaccinated change to include booster shots and more. “I would not be surprised if a few years from now we are adding the idea of are you getting a booster dose at whatever interval? Every year, every six months, whatever,” Williamson said.

Before you start worrying that you might have to get multiple vaccinations, remember viruses change. Dr. Williamson said it’s normal for viruses to change from being deadly to a milder form of infection like the common cold after a few years. “It won’t be as big a deal if you are fully vaccinated because there will be bigger herd immunity. There will be milder form of the virus circulating at that point,” Williamson said.

Dr. Williamson heads the Alabama Hospital Association, but he is also an infectious disease expert. He said eventually the virus will not lead to mass hospitalizations, but that depends on more people getting vaccinated so that these variants can eventually be controlled.

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