‘Fully vaccinated’ definition could change in the future thanks to approved Covid-19 booster shots, CDC acknowledges

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky has said the agency is open to shifting the definition of being “fully vaccinated” against Covid-19, thanks to booster shots.

During a Friday press conference, Walensky was asked if those eligible for booster shots need to get the further doses to keep their full vaccination status.

“We have not yet changed the definition of ‘fully vaccinated,’” Walensky said, noting that as of now not all Americans are eligible for booster shots.  “We may need to update our definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ in the future,” she added.

People in the US are considered fully vaccinated if they have two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the one shot required for the Johnson & Johnson jab. If boosters became part of the requirement to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’, many who received their shots early on will likely need to get boosters to maintain their ‘vaccinated’ status. 

Boosters for every available vaccine in the US have received approval from the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but only for eligible groups. The CDC has approved booster doses for all adults who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and seniors and immunocompromised adults for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. 

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Walensky and the CDC announced this week people could also mix and match booster shots safely. It was announced Friday that eligibility for boosters will expand in the coming months. 

Walensky encouraged anyone eligible to get their booster shots, regardless of its future impact on their vaccination status. 

"They are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant,” Walensky said. 

Vaccine mandate opponents have been critical of Walensky’s latest comments, accusing the health official of shifting the “goalposts.”

“The goalposts are moving. First they changed the definition of ‘vaccine.’ Now they’re changing the definition of ‘fully vaccinated,’” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) tweeted.

According to CDC data, over 66% of the US population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 

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