CDC Director: US is not considering changing definition of ‘fully vaccinated’

Rochelle Walensky, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the organization is “not examining” changing what it means to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Previously, Walensky had indicated that the definition may need to be updated following the approval of booster shots.

At present, the CDC’s website says, “Fully vaccinated persons are those who are 14 days post-completion of the primary series of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.” Walensky confirmed this by saying, “The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ is one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and two doses of the either Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine, and we’re not examining changing that definition anytime at this point.”

Just a few weeks ago, Walensky indicated that the U.S. “may need to update” what qualifies a person as fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Walensky made that comment not long after the CDC and the FDA officially approved boosters and the safety of mixing and matching different brands of shots.

“The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe – as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given,” commented Walensky. She added, “We have not yet changed the definition of ‘fully vaccinated.’ We will continue to look at this. We may need to update our definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ in the future.” 

But Walensky has since indicated that because not everyone is eligible for a booster shot, the definition is not being changed for now. “I can’t say that I am comfortable that anyone under 50, otherwise healthy, needs a booster at this time,” she said last week. She did, though, encourage those eligible for a booster to get one: “If you’re eligible for a booster, go ahead and get your booster.”

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