While Americans continue to live with COVID-19, and the Delta variant which brought a second wave of the virus to many parts of the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning about another variant, the Mu variant.
While Fauci says that U.S. health officials are taking the new variant “very seriously,” the new strain is nowhere near the dominant one.
Fauci described the Mu variant as having mutations that suggest “it would evade certain antibodies,” such as those in vaccines.
On Thursday, Dr. Fauci predicted that Americans who have been vaccinated with the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would need a third booster shot.
Fauci cited data from Israel showing that immunity from COVID-19 decreased after roughly eight months after receiving the initial vaccine.
When Israelis began seeing the Delta variant in early summer, infections in vaccinated people rose, but most of the population had been vaccinated.
Fauci said that Israeli studies showed that infection rates dropped by around 84% when compared to the two-shot vaccination. Fauci called the protection against the virus “dramatic and durable.”
In Israel, time seems to be measured in months in between booster shots. For Israelis to frequent bars and restaurants, they must have a vaccination card that does not exceed six months dating from the time they received their second shot.
If they receive a booster shot within five months of their second dose, the vaccine pass is extended by six months. Even Israeli children are not excused from having to prove their health status.
Children under the age of three who are not eligible for the vaccine must prove their status with a COVID-19 antigenic test. This mandate from Israel’s Health Ministry guidance.
The Mu variant would make the fifth known variant of COVID-19. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta are the other known variants.
The World Health Organization has all but demanded that the U.S. share doses of the vaccines with developing countries at the same time the Biden administration is reportedly working on a booster shot plan.
Earlier this week, two regulators with the Food & Drug Administration resigned out of frustration over the booster shot plan, because of “anger over the Biden administration’s plan to roll out COVID-19 booster shots before officials had a chance to approve it.”
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