- Dr. Fauci predicts that Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines could one day be considered as three-shot vaccinations.
- This is because the immune system learns better when shots are separated at several-month intervals.
- It is possible that “we will not see an absolute need to rebuild every few months” after that, he said.
Dr. Fauci wants all adults who have been fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna to know this – it’s OK to go and get a booster when you’re eligible.
In fact, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases assumes that the normal, full dosing schedule for Pfizer and Modern COVID-19 vaccines will one day be three shots, with the last given at least six months after the other. .
“A booster is not a luxury, a booster is not an addition, and a booster is part of what the original cure should be,” Fauci told journalist Helen Branswell during the 2021 STAT summit on Tuesday.
Although he admitted that “no one knows,” yet, exactly what the ideal range for dosing these new vaccines would be, he was happy to venture a qualified guess.
“I happen to think, as an immunologist and a person with infectious diseases, that a third shot boost for an mRNA is likely – should be part of the actual standard cure,” Fauci said.
This is in line with what he told Insider on Monday that boosters should be offered to all American adults without exception – contrary to the CDC’s current position that boosters should be saved for older adults, those with disabilities or vulnerable people living and working at high exposure to coronavirus.
Many immunologists say that this idea makes sense from a biological perspective. The body needs several months to achieve a truly robust response to a vaccination. During that time, T cells and B cells cement their memory of how to fight coronavirus should a person encounter it again.
“We know again from immunology that goes far back, the longer you wait to give the boost, the stronger the response will be,” said immunology expert Dr. James Hildreth, president of Meharry Medical College, recently to Insider. “Therefore, there is a recommendation that if you have COVID-19, then you have it [monoclonal] antibodies, it may be wise to wait a bit to let the antibody levels drop a bit so that you get the maximum benefit from the vaccine. “
Some experts stress that even without the added benefit of time, two initial doses at several-week intervals can be adequate protection against serious illness for most young adults indefinitely.
But by boosting people after six months, “you will qualitatively and quantitatively have a different immunological phenomenon,” Fauci said. “We will have given the B-cell memory and the T-cell memory enough time to have affinity maturation.”
He assumes that there is a “reasonable” possibility that because of this maturation, “we will not see an absolute need to reboost every several months” when a third dose is given.