Fauci says annual boosters may not wind up being necessary, but situation remains fluid

The country's chief medical adviser has changed guidance as the virus has spread, muted, receded
Anthony Fauci, May 11

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Adviser to the Biden administration, said last week that annual COVID-19 boosters may not be needed, as he once said he thought they would be.

Instead, Fauci is now discussing boosters relative to other health factors that pertain to one's immune system and ability to fight a virus that has, in the vast majority of cases, proven to be something from which healthy young people can easily recover. 

"If you are a normal, healthy 30-year-old person with no underlying conditions, you might need a booster only every four or five years," Fauci told the Financial Times.

For several months now, Fauci has been saying that it is no entirely clear what will be required as pandemic enters its third year.

Some countries, including Israel and Germany, are already offering fourth shots, and the British health service had ordered 114 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna boosters to be delivered in 2022 and 2023.

Large pharmaceutical companies are also on board for annual shots – though their incentives are worth examining. 

Meanwhile, researchers and virologists across the U.S. and beyond are also working through their policy positions on the issues.

The dean of National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, Peter Hotez, says "there’s a high probability that it could be three [doses] and done."

While others, including Vanderbilt infectious disease specialist William Schaffner, say the situation remains fluid and we will likely need to continue "learning as we go."

"None of us would be surprised if there would be a need for boosters at some interval. Would it be a year, two years, five years? We don’t know," he said.