White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday it isn’t a “mistake” for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to limit booster recommendations, but his comments on the subject differed just days ago.
The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted against approving boosters for all Americans aged 16 and over on Friday. The panel instead approved the booster only for Americans aged 65 and older as well as those at risk of serious illness from the virus.
The decision was a loss for President Joe Biden’s administration, as officials had originally claimed the booster shot would be available to all Americans mid-September, pending FDA approval. Fauci was pushing approval for the booster shots as recently as Wednesday when he told KHN that “there’s very little doubt that the boosters will be beneficial.” (RELATED: Top Health Officials Tell White House To Pause Vaccine Booster Plan: REPORT)
“If they say, ‘We don’t think there’s enough data to do a booster,’ then so be it. I think that would be a mistake, to be honest with you,” Fauci said at the time.
On Sunday, Fauci appeared to backtrack on CNN – and anchor Jake Tapper called him out on it. Tapper highlighted Fauci’s recent comments, noting he said it “would be a mistake” and wondering if now he was saying he doesn’t “think it was a mistake.”
“No, I mean, I – you know, what I was saying that mistake, my own personal looking at this, again, just because I look at the data and say I would do it this way, that’s the reason why we have qualified groups of people who together as a committee examine all the data and make a decision,” Fauci responded. “So I have no problem at all with their decision. The thing that I’m saying is that data will continue to come in and I believe you’re going to see an evolution of this process as we go on in the next several weeks to months.”
Fauci continued on to say it’s “entirely conceivable” that, in order to protect against COVID-19, “the proper regimen … would be more than just the prime and the boost followed by three to four weeks.”
“That it might actually entail a third boost,” he said. “That is entirely conceivable because, remember, Jake, when we did the initial studies what we did was we had to move very, very quickly because we were dealing – and still are – with an emergency situation.”
Fauci continued on to reiterate that “an optimal regimen may be three shots for everyone.” At the same time, he noted that the data examined by the advisory committee is to limit those allowed to have booster shots and that perhaps in the future there will be “an evolution of this decision.”
Fauci is in the group eligible for the booster shop due to his age and told Tapper he has not yet gotten the booster shot but plans to do so.