It is now clear that these people – including cancer and HIV patients or those who have had organ transplants – generally do not produce an adequate immune response after receiving two doses of a Covid vaccine, said Fauci.
“People who are immunocompromised are vulnerable,” Fauci said during a White House briefing. “It is extremely important for us to take action to ensure that these individuals receive their boosters, and we are currently working on it and we will ensure that this is implemented as quickly as possible. … This is a very high priority. “
Immunocompromised populations represent only about 2.7% of the American adult population. Still, they account for about 44% of hospitalized Covid discovery cases – an infection in a fully vaccinated individual, according to recent data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory group.
Studies suggest that a third shot of the vaccine may help patients whose immune systems don’t respond as well to a first or second dose.
Four small studies cited by the CDC last month showed that 16% to 80% of people with weakened immune systems did not have detectable antibodies to fight Covid after two injections. Among immunocompromised patients who did not have a detectable antibody response, 33 to 50% developed an antibody response after receiving an additional dose, according to the CDC.
“It is clear now from the observational data that has been made that they are not, in general, making an adequate response which we believe would be adequately protected,” Fauci said Thursday.
Other countries, such as France, are already distributing third injections to people with cancer or other immune deficiencies. Israel announced last month that it would offer booster shots to people over 60, as the effectiveness of the injection appears to decrease in such people.
Some doctors have been pushing for the United States to allow immunocompromised populations to be given an extra dose, and many immunocompromised Americans are already finding extra doses of the vaccine on their own, according to medical experts.
Dr Scott Gottlieb, who led the Food and Drug Administration from 2017 to 2019 under the Trump administration, told CNBC on Monday that he believed booster shots would be given to the elderly and immunocompromised by September or October. .
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and serves on the boards of directors of Pfizer, genetic testing startup Tempus, health technology company Aetion Inc., and biotech company Illumina. He is also co-chair of the Healthy Sail Panel of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean.