In the booster era, what does it mean to be fully vaccinated against COVID?


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — People are wondering exactly what ‘fully vaccinated’ means at this point in the pandemic when many of us are getting a booster shot. This as health experts watch the new COVID-19 omicron variant spread and weigh in on how boosters are reacting.

“Healthcare experts are keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 omicron variant spread in the United Kingdom,” explained Yale Medicine physician F. Perry Wilson.

He has been watching the waves of COVID overseas to get a glimpse of what the United States will experience in the future.

“From a public health standpoint we’re actually quite worried about the strain the highly-transmissible variant will put on hospital systems and, of course, in areas that are less vaccinated, that’s going to be an even bigger problem,” Dr. Wilson added.

The doctor does not like what he’s seeing in the U.K. with omicron.

“It’s quite scary actually in terms of rate of growth. We’re seeing a doubling in cases every two to three days.”

Many people wonder what the term “fully vaccinated” means at this point in the pandemic.

WEB EXTRA: Full interview: Dr. F. Perry Wilson with a look at how effective boosters are, is omicron more transmissible than Delta, and what is considered fully vaccinated?

“The truth is it means different things to different people. Different companies might decide that ‘fully vaccinated’ means two or three. And the truth of the matter is that this is an ongoing pandemic with a disease agent that is still evolving.”

He would like to see the term ‘fully vaccinated’ abandoned and said two COVID vaccine shots and a booster offer the most protection against COVID.

“We know that boosters as they raise those antibody levels up protect more and more and more and we’re seeing that even against the delta variant and, yes, against the omicron variant,” says Dr. Wilson.

He says now with omicron here boosters seem critical because doctors are seeing a significant number of breakthrough infections in people who only had their first two doses of an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna.

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