Fully vaccinated Americans still have a lingering question on their mind — when do they need a COVID-19 booster shot? Well, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease expert, recently revealed two signals to watch for.

When will we need a third COVID-19 shot?

Fauci recently told Insider that he doesn’t think immunity from the novel coronavirus vaccine will last forever and that people will need to get booster shots to keep themselves safe.

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Fauci said he won’t be getting antibody tests to tell him it’s time for another shot. Instead, he’ll be watching for two factors:

  • A rise in breakthrough COVID-19 infections among trial participants, who got their first COVID-19 vaccine shots in early 2020.
  • Any new lab data that reveals COVID-19 vaccine protection is dropping off after a certain amount of time.

Is there any evidence yet?

A group working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is currently no evidence people need a booster shot to stay immune from the novel coronavirus.

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The group said a booster shot — which would technically be a third shot for those with Moderna/Pfizer vaccines, or a second shot for those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — could be necessary down the road, as I wrote for the Deseret News. It still remains unclear when that would be.

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Could COVID-19 vaccine shots come in the fall?

Dr. Sharon Frey, clinical director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Saint Louis University Medical School, told NBC News that we’ll know if we need another shot if vaccinated Americans start getting infected more often.

  • “I think the only thing we can do at this moment is, if we start to see an uptick in reinfection in people, or new infections in people who have been vaccinated, that’s our clue that we need to move quickly,” Frey said.

Who will need COVID-19 booster shots?

The World Health Organization said in leaked documents that vulnerable populations will need COVID-19 booster shots every year to avoid any new coronavirus variants, according to Reuters.

The WHO said in the documents that annual booster shots for high-risk people will be “indicative” of a normal scenario. But the general population will need shots every two years, as I explained for the Deseret News.

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