Despite previously hinting otherwise, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that one does not need to get the COVID booster shot to be considered "fully vaccinated" in America. According to President Joe Biden's Chief Medical Advisor, the current available data does not say whether federal health officials should change the established criteria for what's considered "fully vaccinated" against COVID.
"If you look at the data that we have, fully vaccinated right now, by definition, is the original two doses [of]...Pfizer and Moderna and a single dose with Johnson & Johnson," Dr. Fauci told ABC's Martha Raddatz on "This Week," as reported by the New York Post. "We'll continue to follow the data, because right now when we're boosting people, what we're doing is following them."
Dr. Fauci claimed that they will continue to "follow the science" and see what the data says, adding, "We're going to see what the durability of that protection is, and as we always do, you just follow and let the data guide your policy and let the data guide your recommendations."
Nonetheless, Dr. Fauci remained firm in his stance to get more Americans vaccinated a third time against COVID. He reasoned to CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" that vaccines were "still highly effective" and that ideally, people would want to "make sure the durability of that protection is longer," because after all, "no vaccine lasts forever."
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases underscored how they continue to "be guided by the science," saying that as they learn more about the protection of boosters, they "might modify the guidelines." Dr. Fauci previously expressed his support for booster shots as a "standard regimen" to protect against COVID.
But not everyone is happy with Dr. Fauci's remarks. One of his biggest adversaries in the Senate, Sen. Rand Paul, recently spoke out about how Dr. Fauci failed to recognize that COVID came from a lab that his agency itself funded.
"This virus has a 1% mortality and killed 5 million people so far, around the world. Can you imagine if the next one that comes out of the lab has 15% or 50% mortality?" Sen. Paul said, as reported by The Blaze. "And they are doing experiments, as we speak, with viruses that have 50% mortality, and Fauci seems to have no problem with this."
Paul argued that Dr. Fauci said "we weigh the risks versus the benefits of the research, and he comes down on the side that the risks are worth it." The senator also went on to call out Dr. Fauci because he wants Americans to be "forced to do as he says," which is why the senator called the White House Medical Advisor a "medical dictator."
Paul concluded that there is much danger in allowing just one person to dictate public health safety measures, saying, "The real danger is, as we centralize authority, ultimately you get authoritarianism."