May 20, 2021 -- People who received the coronavirus vaccine will likely need a booster shot within a year of being fully vaccinated, Anthony Fauci, MD, said Wednesday during a virtual discussion hosted by Axios.
"I think we will almost certainly require a booster sometime within a year or so after getting the primary [shot] because the durability of protection against coronaviruses is generally not lifelong," said Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the White House.
The CEO of Pfizer, which makes a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine with European partner BioNTech, agreed.
"The data that I see coming, they are supporting the notion that likely there will be a need for a booster somewhere between 8 and 12 months," said Albert Bourla, PhD.
Both Pfizer and Moderna say they’re developing booster shots. The companies said last month that research shows the vaccines are effective for at least 6 months.
About 277 million vaccine doses have been delivered, the CDC says, with about 48% of the people in the U.S. receiving at least one dose and almost 38% of the U.S. being fully vaccinated.
Fauci went on to say that many Americans don’t fully understand the CDC’s updated face mask guidance, which says fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks indoors.
"I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It's not," he told Axios. "It's an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors."
The CDC’s updated guidance has created confusion since CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, announced it last week.
"People either read them quickly, or listen and hear half of it,” Fauci said. “They are feeling that we're saying: 'You don't need the mask anymore.' That's not what the CDC said. They said: If you are vaccinated, you can feel safe -- that you will not get infected either outdoors or indoors. It did not explicitly say that unvaccinated people should abandon their masks."