Individuals who are fully vaccinated now might not be considered so in the future without a COVID-19 booster shot, CDC says

A healthcare worker holds a syringe inserted into a vial of pfizer's comirnaty vaccine
Booster shots are being offered to some adults in the US who got Pfizer’s vaccine, called Comirnaty. Jens Schlueter/Getty Images
  • As booster shots rollout, the definition of fully vaccinated might change, the CDC says.
  • Currently, being fully vaccinated in the US means an individual has both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the J&J vaccine.
  • About 6% of the total US population has so far received a booster dose, according to CDC data.

The definition of fully vaccinated might be subject to change in the future now that COVID-19 booster shots are out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

“We have not yet changed the definition of ‘fully vaccinated.’ We will continue to look at this. We may need to update our definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ in the future,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a news conference.

Currently, being fully vaccinated in the United States means that an individual has either both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

With the rollout of booster shots, that definition might change. So far, the CDC has recommended that certain groups of people like those who are 65 or older get one.

“If you’re eligible for a booster, go ahead and get your booster and we will continue to follow,” Walensky said during the Friday news conference.

People who are at least 18 years old and either work in high-risk settings or have underlying medical conditions are also eligible to receive a booster shot at this time.

The Food and Drug Administration earlier this week authorized booster shots for both Moderna and Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines. Individuals are able to mix and match booster doses with their original COVID-19 vaccination, the FDA said.

In a Friday press briefing, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said the booster shot will be available for more than 120 million Americans “in the coming months.”

“This includes over 60 million vaccinated with Moderna and J&J, on top of the 60 million vaccinated with Pfizer,” he said.

Nearly 58% of the total US population is currently fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. And about 6% of the total population has received a booster dose, CDC data says.