No Boosters Needed Yet for COVID Vaccine: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

The Biden administration is reviewing whether some vaccinated people will need to have COVID-19 booster shots, but it thinks it's not necessary at this point and continues to stress the need for vaccinations and masking when in vulnerable areas.

"We are following cohorts or groups of individuals in various settings, nursing homes, medical professionals and others to see if there is a decline in immunity and an increase in breakthrough rates," Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday. "If there is, as soon as we see that, we will make a recommendation on boosters and the good news is that we will have the supply available to provide that to the public, but at this point, based on the collective data the recommendation is not to have boosters implemented, so far."

Murthy said he hopes the shift doesn't make people hesitant to vaccines.

"The vaccines are still the linchpin of our efforts in this pandemic, they save lives, they reduce severe disease, extraordinarily successfully, and they reduce the likelihood that he will get sick and transmit the virus out there," Murthy said. "The bottom line is we are safer today than we were last year because we can get vaccinated."

More than 163 million people in the United States are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus that has killed over 600,000 people in the country and continues to spread.

New variants of the virus have made it more potent and threatened even people already vaccinated.

Some states and cities have begun reimplementing mask requirements, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] in response to the recent surge in cases.

"I can certainly understand how people may be concerned," Murthy said. "We've heard about new guidance and you look at the map and you see the numbers and hear about more cases, but what has not changed is that the vaccines that we have are still extraordinarily effective at saving lives, and preventing severe illness—that is good news, and it represents progress that we've made in the last six months, and we're not losing that progress."

Murthy stressed the likelihood for a breakthrough sickness when someone isn't vaccinated is very low.

"If you happen to have a lot of interaction with folks who are unvaccinated—let's say you're a parent like me who has young children at home who are not vaccinated—that's a circumstance, of being extra cautious and wearing that mask, even if you're fully vaccinated."

Vaccinations need to increase
A number of states and cities have begun reimplementing mask requirements, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] in response to the recent surge in COVID cases. A doctors office advertises the COVID-19 vaccine in a neighborhood near Brighton Beach on Monday in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images