The U.S. has been fighting the COVID pandemic for nearly two years now. While we all hoped that the virus would be eradicated by now, a full year since the introduction of highly effective vaccines, slowing vaccination rates and a fast-spreading variant kept the pandemic in full swing over the summer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 58.5 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, leaving more than 60 million people unvaccinated despite being eligible. But while health officials caution that the unvaccinated are most at risk right now, some experts now say that vaccinated people should also be on high alert.
On Nov. 12, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, went on The New York Times' podcast The Daily to discuss the current state of the coronavirus in the U.S. According to Fauci, officials are now starting to see some waning immunity against both infection and hospitalization several months after initial vaccination. The infectious disease expert pointed toward incoming data from Israel, which he noted tends to be about a month to a month and a half ahead of us in terms of the outbreak.
"They are seeing a waning of immunity not only against infection but against hospitalization and to some extent death, which is starting to now involve all age groups. It isn't just the elderly," Fauci said. "It's waning to the point that you're seeing more and more people getting breakthrough infections, and more and more of those people who are getting breakthrough infections are winding up in the hospital."