Dr. Anthony Fauci anticipates that the definition of being "fully vaccinated" against COVID-19 will eventually change.
"It's gonna be a matter of when, not if," the definition changes, Fauci said during an interview on CNN.
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The current definition of full vaccination involves receiving two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, two doses of the Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
"But when you're talking about optimal protection, there's no doubt now from the data we have, that to be optimally protected you have to get a third shot of an mRNA and a second shot of a J&J," Fauci said during an interview with MSNBC.
"The discussion of whether or not the definition of fully vaccinated should include that third shot boost is certainly ongoing and it is certainly on the table. I would not be surprised at all if within a reasonable period of time that changes. But right now, we're sticking with the original definition of fully vaccinated," he said.
During an interview with Frances Stead Sellers of the Washington Post, Fauci said that he does not expect the definition of full vaccination to be changed "in the immediate future." He added, "that from a personal standpoint, optimal protection is with a booster."
While 71.8% of the U.S. population consisting of individuals 18 and older has been fully vaccinated against COIVD-19 (as per the current definition), only 26.3% of that population demographic has received a booster, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fauci, who serves as the chief medical advisor to President Biden, has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for well over three decades.
Many Americans have taken issue with vaccination mandates during the pandemic, decrying such requirements as infringements upon individual liberty.
But Fauci has said that while it would be preferable for people to get vaccinated voluntarily, if they are not willing to do so, "sometimes you've gotta do things that are unpopular but that clearly supersede individual choices and are directed predominantly at the communal good."
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