The nation’s top infectious disease expert says that COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising among people fully vaccinated who have not had booster shots.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said waning immunity from the initial shots is leading to a rise in severe cases among immunized Americans.
‘What we’re starting to see now is an uptick in hospitalizations among people who’ve been vaccinated but not boosted,’ he told NBC News in an interview on Tuesday.
‘It’s a significant proportion, but not the majority by any means.’
It comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews applications from both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for emergency use authorization of their booster shots, and could grant them as soon as this week.
Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday the U.S. is seeing an ‘uptick’ in COVID-19 hospitalizations among fully vaccinated people who have not had a booster. Pictured: Fauci speaks at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, November 2021
The seven-day average of new Covid hospital admissions is 5,400, but it is unknown how many of these are among the vaccinated population
Fauci did not specify during the interview by how much the rate of hospitalizations for fully vaccinated people is increasing.
But he has stressed in the past that he is worried that declining efficacy of vaccines could lead to a new surge in the winter.
A recent study from the Public Health Institute in Oakland, California, found that the overall effectiveness of the three Covid vaccines available in the U.S fell from 87 percent in March to 48 percent by September.
The Moderna jab was the most effective, but still fell with the risk of infection being reduced from 89 percent to 58 percent.
Most breakthrough cases are not severe with fewer than 0.1 percent of fully vaccinated people hospitalized or dying from the virus, according to the CDC.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the agency has seen waning vaccine efficacy, particularly among high-risk groups such as the elderly and those long -term care facilities.
‘Although the highest risk are those people who are unvaccinated, we are seeing an increase in emergency department visits among adults aged 65 and older, which are now again higher than they are for younger age groups,’ she said.
She added that recent data have shown that COVID-19 cases are also lower among nursing home residents who have received a booster compared to those who have not.
Walensky also noted that the risk of hospitalizations and death is still greatest for those who are unvaccinated.
‘Studies show that those who are unvaccinated continue to be more likely to be infected, more likely to be in the hospital and more likely to have severe complications from COVID-19,’ she said during the briefing.
Currently, the seven-day average of new Covid hospital admissions is 5,400, up 5.4 percent from the 5,100 the week prior, CDC data show.
However, it’s not clear how many of those are breakthrough cases. The latest CDC data is from August 28 showing 4.5 hospitalizations per 100,000 vaccinated people.
In a statement t DailyMail.com, the CDC said it does not have data about the rate of hospitalizations among vaccinated people with a booster compared to those without.