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Will COVID boosters change who is considered 'fully vaccinated'?

A new COVID-19 vaccination debate has recently begun to emerge, this one centered around the definition of "fully vaccinated" and whether it might be altered to include a dose of the booster shot, Axios reports. On Friday, the FDA authorized both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosters for use in all adults at least six months out from their second dose. 

Already this week, two governors indicated they don't consider those sans booster to be fully vaccinated. "In my view, if you were vaccinated more than six months ago, you're not fully vaccinated," said Connecticit Gov. Ned Lamont (D) on Thursday. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said something similar on Wednesday, explaining her team to be "analyzing what we can do to create those incentives — and potentially mandates — for making sure that people are fully vaccinated, which means three vaccines." 

And it's not just in the U.S. On Monday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated Britain will adjust its definition of "fully vaccinated" to include boosters. French President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that those over age 65 will need a third dose by Dec. 15 to revalidate their vaccination pass in France. And in Austria, "full vaccination status expires after nine months of the second dose," per CNN.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases chief Anthony Fauci told Axios earlier this week that, for the U.S., a federal definition change "hasn't been on the table yet" — though he didn't rule it out in the future. But such an update in rhetoric could have "major implications across many aspects of the pandemic, in some cases making it more difficult to control," University of Pittsburgh Professor Walid Gellad told Axios.

"We haven't thought through all the implications to start saying this casually," he added. "It's premature."