AN EXTRA dose of a Covid vaccine could be needed within a year of Americans getting their second shot, Dr Anthony Fauci has warned.
It comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people who are fully vaccinated can ditch masks inside, while those still awaiting their first or second dose are urged to keep wearing them.
But top medicals experts believe "fully vaccinated" Americans may require a booster jab within the next eight to 12 months.
"We know that the vaccine durability of the efficacy lasts at least six months, and likely considerably more," Dr Fauci said, reports CNN.
"But I think we will almost certainly require a booster sometime within a year or so after getting the primary."
The President's chief medical advisor however added that it is unlikely the booster will be variant-specific.
"Instead of having to play whack-a-mole with each individual variant and develop a booster that's variant-specific, it is likely that you could just keep boosting against the wild type (non-mutated strain of the virus), and wind up getting a good enough response that you wouldn't have to worry about the variants," he said.
The US has boasted a successful vaccine rollout, with around 47.9 per cent of the population receiving at least one dose so far, according to data from the CDC.
Meanwhile, some 37.8 per cent have received two jabs.
Pfizer is still working on trials of its booster vaccine.
Albert Bourla, CEO of the pharmaceutical company, said: "I believe in one, two months we will have enough data to speak about it with much higher scientific certainty."
I think we will almost certainly require a booster sometime within a year or so after getting the primary
Moderna is also working on a booster shot, which could be a half dose of its usual vaccine to target specific variants.
It comes after the CDC said that Americans will only need to wear face coverings on public transport or in healthcare settings if they have been fully vaccinated.
"If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic," the CDC said in a statement.
"The science is clear: if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic."
The guidelines still call for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings such as buses, trains, planes, prisons, and homeless shelters.
But, Dr Fauci – director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – has since warned kids must mask up if they are playing with their friends.
He told CNN's Jake Tapper: "The children do when they are out there playing with their friends, particularly in an indoor situation, they do."
Dr Fauci also reminded the American people that the CDC's ruling doesn't mark the "end of the pandemic" – but that it is a step in the right direction.
He also revealed that there are studies in age de-escalation taking place, meaning babies as young as six months old could receive a Covid jab by the end of the year.
The Food and Drug Administration announced last week that health experts had authorized the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for kids aged 12-15.
Previously, only those 16 and over were eligible to receive the jab.
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