WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Even in states with high vaccination rates, the number of COVID-19 cases is spiking. More people 65-and-older are ending up in the hospital, CDC data shows.
Federal health agencies are now considering approving booster shots for all adults. But as they continue to look at the data, at least 9 states have already moved ahead and approved booster shots for all adults.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said the rising number of breakthrough cases doesn’t mean the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work.
“No vaccine is 100% effective,” Fauci said. “Unvaccinated people were 13 times more likely to become infected than fully vaccinated. And unvaccinated people were 20 times more likely to die than fully vaccinated people – and that is the state of Texas.”
But leading health experts said they’re learning the vaccines effectiveness does decrease over time, especially in the face of the highly contagious delta variant.
Still, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said there is also good news.
“When we compare rates of COVID-19 disease between those who are vaccinated with two doses and those who have received a booster dose, the rate of disease is markedly lower for those who received their booster shot,” Walensky said.
That’s why the US is moving closer to approving booster shots for all adults.
“CDC will quickly review the safety and effectiveness data as soon as we hear from the FDA,” Walensky said.
Boosters are already approved for people 65-and-older or those who are at high risk due to their health, occupation or living settings. Anyone 18-and-older who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine can get a booster, too.
It’s possible the FDA could approve booster shots for all adults by the end of this week. In the meantime, health officials say anyone who already qualifies for a booster should get one.