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US CDC: 3rd jab may be required to be “fully vaccinated”

The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ may be set to change in the near future owing to the development of booster shots. In a news conference last week the director of the U.S CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) warned that they may have to “update” the definition of “fully vaccinated”.

At the virtual press conference, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky confirmed that boosters may soon be compulsory to be considered “fully vaccinated”. Dr Walensky told reporters that: “We have not yet changed the definition of fully vaccinated. We will continue to look at this. We may need to update our definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ in the future.

 

The “updated” definition could mean that only those who have received the third “booster” shot would be considered “fully vaccinated”, while people who have been double jabbed with the two original shots are no longer deemed to be “fully vaccinated”. Some commentators have speculated that the warning may simply be part of an effort to encourage (or pressurise) people to get the “booster” without forcing them to, it is significant that a revised definition of “fully vaccinated” has already been adopted in countries around the world.

For instance, it is already a policy in Israel. At the start of September, they “updated the definition of what it means to be vaccinated” and you now need a third shot, or else you are no longer considered vaccinated. Following the redefinition, the Times of Israel reported that 14 Israelis who received their third shot were later infected with Covid nonetheless. According to Channel 12 News in a report from August, two of those infected after receiving the booster shot were hospitalised. However, such sporadic instances would not be sufficient for medical officials to draw conclusions as to the third dose’s general effectiveness in fighting off the Delta variant of the disease.

In the south-eastern Australian state of Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews has also hinted that boosters will be needed to keep fully vaccinated freedoms. On Sunday, Mr Andrews suggested that going forward, life for the vaccinated would “be about maintenance of your vaccination status”. His comments were made ahead of a meeting of the medical regulator on Monday (25 October) that could see third doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine offered to the general public as early as the end of this week.

According to reports, an estimated 5.3 million booster doses have been delivered throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In Ireland, 40,000 booster shots and extra Covid vaccines have reportedly been administered so far, following the booster shot rollout launched on 27 September. The booster drive comes as one Irish virologist said that the booster jab plan in Ireland is based on hope, not science.

Gerald Barry said that the effectiveness of a third Covid-19 vaccine dose to immunocompromised groups, who have been offered the booster first, is “hope-based, rather than solid data-based”. Barry, a professor of virology at University College Dublin, said the decision to administer booster shots to at-risk groups had been made without sufficient evidence that an extra dose would produce an effective immune response.

“There’s an assumption that immunocompromised people haven’t responded as well to the two-dose regime as a non-immunocompromised person, so the assumption being made is that we’ll give them a third dose in the hope that it will boost their immunity up to a level equivalent to someone that’s non-immunocompromised,” Barry said. “But, to be honest, there’s very little data to tell us that will happen.”

“PEOPLE AREN’T TURNING UP?”

Meanwhile in the UK, ITV’s Robert Peston said that “People are simply not turning up to get vaccinated” as he challenged Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth as Labour called for more vaccines. Journalist Peston slammed Ashworth after the Shadow Health Secretary said that Ministers had “lost their grip” on vaccines.

“But people are simply not turning up to get vaccinated. How can you blame ministers?” Mr Peston said. In response, Mr Ashworth argued that people were not attending their booster appointments “because they’re not getting their letters” and argued that “we’re not using community pharmacy effectively”.

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