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Dr. Fauci Just Gave This Important Omicron Update

"I'm out here with you telling the public," now is the time to get vaccinated or boosted, due to Omicron.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

There is some good news out there regarding the coronavirus: Pfizer announced that a booster can help protect you against the new variant Omicron. "Sera obtained from vaccines one month after receiving the booster vaccination neutralized the Omicron variant to levels that are comparable to those observed for the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 spike protein after two doses," said the company. So what does this mean for you? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on CNN yesterday to sort it all out. Read on for 6 life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Dr. Fauci Says the Booster News is Good News, Get Yours When Eligible

Doctor holding syringe, medical injection in hand with glove.

"The news is encouraging because with the new Omicron variant, the initial study shows that for people who have a two dose of an mRNA vaccine, that the protection against infection, at least as projected by the laboratory data, we don't have clinical data on that yet, diminishes significantly," said Dr. Fauci. "However, as the people from Pfizer pointed out, when you get that third shot boost, it dramatically increases the level of laboratory projected protection. In other words, if you look at the level of antibodies and very likely other immune parameters that you still stay within the level of protection, which is really very encouraging news, because everyone obviously is concerned about the appearance of this new Omicron variant, which has those mutations that are somewhat concerning, but this is good news about the booster protection."


Dr. Fauci Says He "Believes" Three Shots of Pfizer Should Hold Up Against Omicron

Glass bottle with logo Pfizer and BioNTech in the doctor's hand.

"We should remember that the vaccines that we've all received were against the original ancestral Wuhan strain, yet they protect very well against Alpha, Beta and Delta, when you get the level of response high enough." said Dr. Fauci. "And that's what we're seeing now with Omicron. So one can project that if you get a high enough level of protection induced by the vaccines, they will hold strong. However, having said that, we are still together with the pharmaceutical companies going ahead to make a variant specific boost just in case. It turns out that the boost with the current vaccine doesn't give that kind of durable response. But from the preliminary data that you just mentioned, we have every reason to believe that the booster with the standard vaccine should hold us well."

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Dr. Fauci Says He is Breathing a Bit Easier But Here's What We Still Need to Know

Biotechnology scientist in ppe suit researching DNA in laboratory using microscope. team examining virus evolution using high tech for scientific research of vaccine development against covid19

"When you're entering into an arena of a new variant with very many unknown aspects about it, you always have a degree of anxiety about how it's going to turn out. So there were three major unknowns, is it much more transmissible than Delta? Does it elude or evade the immune response? And is it clinically more severe? And as the days and the weeks go by in real time, we're learning more and more. So the news we got last night and this morning about the effect of boosters does make me breathe a little bit better. I'd like to learn a little bit more as we will over the next few days, two weeks about the transmissibility, as well as the degree of severity of disease."


Dr. Fauci Says This is What "Fully Vaccinated" Might Mean

Close up shot of hands checking Covid-19 vaccine report card and ticking 3rd or booster dose after vaccination.

"It's a technical, almost semantic definition and it is the definition for requirements," said Dr. Fauci. "If someone says, are you fully vaccinated to be able to attend class in a university or a college, or be able to work in a workplace right now, I don't see that changing tomorrow and next week, but certainly if you want to talk about what optimal protection is, I don't think anybody would argue that optimal protection is going to be with a third shot, whether or not it officially gets changed in the definition. I think that's going to be considered literally on a daily basis. That's always on the table." He thinks three shots will ultimately mean you're "fully vaccinated": "It's going to be a matter of when, not if."

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Dr. Fauci Says This About What We Know About Omicron So Far

Doctor with blood sample of Covid-19 Omicron B.1.1.529 Variant and general data of covid-19 Coronavirus Mutations.

"The overwhelming majority of clinical data, we don't have any clinical data yet in our own country because we don't have enough people with an Omicron infection, but in South Africa, they have a very interesting demographic breakdown," said Dr. Fauci. "They have people who are vaccinated, but their level of vaccination is about 30%, which is way below us and way below most other countries—they have many more people percentage wise who have HIV infection, which would put them at a greater risk of severity of disease. And they have a lot of people that have been infected with Beta and even with Delta, but … it appears that the level of severity, when you look at the relationship or the ratio between number of infections and requirements for hospitalization, duration of hospital stay, it looks like, at least it's not more severe and likely might be less severe. Overwhelmingly unvaccinated are always more vulnerable to all aspects of disease. But if you look at what we can gather from the entire cohort in South Africa, the initial suggestion is that it can be less severe, but we've always got to be careful….You really gotta get it confirmed over a longer period and with many more people."

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To Stay Safe, Do This Now

Woman wearing face mask looking at camera showing thumbs up after getting the covid-19 vaccine.

"I'm out here with you telling the public, if ever there was yet another spur and another incentive" to get vaccinated "and another reason to get a booster shot, please do it. We have about 35 to 40,000 million people who have received the booster, we have a hundred million people who are eligible to be boosted who have not yet gotten boosted. So not only do we got to get the unvaccinated vaccinated, but we've got to get the people who have been fully vaccinated boosted. It's very important. I hope that this news that's now spreading out about the Omicron variant and the vaccinations are going to get people to reevaluate the need and get on there and go get boosted." So do so, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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