U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday reported the first known death from the omicron variant after saying the country faces a “tidal wave” of omicron cases.
“I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need,”
The news comes after Johnson said Sunday he was opening booster shots to all adults. “I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need,” Johnson said in an address to the U.K. announcing a new timeline for the country’s booster rollout.
With the spread of the omicron variant looming, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday told ABC News that preliminary data about omicron show the variant can “evade” some of the protection that vaccines offer but a booster dose “raises the level of protection high enough that it then does do well against the omicron.”
“If you want to be optimally protected, absolutely get a booster,” Fauci added.
When asked whether yearly boosters will be required, Fauci said he hoped the current boosters would increase the durability of protection beyond six months but that it remains unclear for how long they will offer protection. If another dose is necessary, “then we’ll just have to deal with it when that occurs,” Fauci said.
Monday also marks the one year anniversary of the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine rolling out of Pfizer’s production facilities and heading toward hospitals around the country to launch U.S. vaccination efforts.
More than 239 million people have since received at least one dose and 60.8% of Americans are fully vaccinated since the rollout of vaccines, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. However, only 26% of the population has received a booster dose.
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