Amid concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci says variant-specific boosters are not needed "at this point."
Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, during a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday said that data shows the new Omicron variant "undoubtedly" reduces the protection provided by two doses of an mRNA vaccine. But, he said, early clinical studies suggest booster doses "enhance the vaccine protection" against the Omicron variant.
Additionally, Fauci said, "Our booster vaccine regimens work against Omicron. At this point there is no need for a variant-specific booster."
Since the Omicron variant first emerged, there had been questions as to whether booster doses specifically developed to fight it would be necessary. Pfizer recently said, though, that early data suggests its vaccine booster provides protection against the Omicron variant. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that "although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it's clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine."
Fauci on Wednesday again urged fully vaccinated Americans to get their COVID-19 booster doses when eligible. Earlier this month, when the first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was confirmed in the United States, Fauci said it would be a "mistake" not to get a booster dose and wait for a potential variant-specific booster, as he noted "we may not need" them.
"If you're eligible for boosting," he said at the time, "get boosted right now."