Maw told Los Angeles radio station KNX News earlier this week that while people who are unvaccinated and those with underlying conditions are at the highest risk of complications from covid-19, others are not exempt.
“If they don’t get vaccinated or they don’t get boosted, they’re going to be in trouble,” he said.
BA.5, which has been called “the worst version of the virus,” accounts for more than 85 per cent of cases of covid-19, incl more than 41 per cent of US counties experiencing a high covid-19 community level, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some health experts have expressed concern that not enough people are vaccinated, especially as the nation has fallen away from restrictions and mandates, such as masking, to help control the spread of the disease.
In fact, the majority of the American population is not up to date on the vaccines – defined by the CDC as having completed the primary series and all booster doses recommended for that individual. CDC data shows that 67 percent of the American population is fully vaccinated, but only 48 percent have received the first booster shot. Only 32 percent of people 50 and older – who are eligible for another booster — has had the extra dose.
Fauci said it’s important to get as many people vaccinated and boosted as possible so the virus doesn’t have “ample opportunity to circulate freely.” When the virus is given that opportunity, he said, it can continue to mutate.
“It’s about you as an individual, but it’s also about the shared responsibility to get this outbreak under control,” he told the radio station.
That said, it is not uncommon for people who are vaccinated to become infected. President Biden, who is vaccinated and double-boosted, recently tested positive for the virus—and then had a rebound infection—although he experienced “very mild symptoms.”
Health experts, including Fauci, have repeatedly pointed out that research shows the shots still protect against serious complications, including hospitalization and death. As of July 27, there were more than 126,000 new cases reported daily, with 6,340 hospitalizations and 364 deaths, according to CDC data.
“Right now we have boosters that are very effective in reducing every aspect of the infection,” Fauci told KNX News. “A virus like BA.5, which is the most common circulating virus, is so transmissible that it often breaks through vaccine protection. But the vaccines and boosters still do a very good job of preventing you from developing to a serious illness.”
In addition, one booster designed to target the omicron variant likely to be rolled out in the fall with the intention of extending immunity.
“You don’t want covid to dominate people’s lives in this country or around the world, but you don’t want to, by wanting it behind us and it’s in hindsight, not doing things that would be sensible, Fauci said.