Americans who received 2 doses of Covid-19 messenger RNA vaccines are no longer “fully vaccinated,” according to new guidance from the CDC.
The CDC announced Wednesday, Aug. 18, that a third dose of the experimental mRNA vaccine will be available for immunosuppressed individuals starting the week of September 20.
The third dose, called “booster” shots, are necessary, according to the CDC, because data submitted by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shows the vaccine’s effectiveness wears off after 6-8 months.
READ ALSO: FDA Authorizing THIRD Coronavirus mRNA Injection for Immunocompromised People
A reporter asked at a video press conference on Wednesday, “What will it mean to be fully vaccinated once people are eligible for boosters? Will it be two shots or three shots?”
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy responded:
“Our recommendation, down the line, again pending the advice and the review of the FDA…, is that we believe that that third dose will ultimately be needed to provide the fullest and continual extent of protection that we think people will need for the virus.”
Prior to Wednesday, the definition of “fully vaccinated” meant two doses of mRNA vaccine or one shot of the J&J “dead virus” vaccine.
The booster shots will be available for immunocompromised individuals first in mid-September. Then it will become available to health care workers, nursing home residents and the elderly who got the first 2 doses.
The general population who received the first 2 doses will be eligible to receive the third booster shot in late September or early October, pending full approval by the FDA.