CDC shifts COVID-19 messaging focus from 'fully vaccinated' to 'up to date'

Rather than altering the definition of "fully vaccinated," the CDC is emphasizing the importance of staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination schedules. 

The agency is working to "pivot the language to make sure that everybody is as up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines as they personally could be, should be, based on when they got their last vaccine," the agency's director, Rochelle Walensky, MD, said during a Jan. 21 press briefing at the White House.

"That means if you recently got your second dose, you're not eligible for a booster, you're up to date. If you are eligible for a booster and you haven't gotten it, you're not up to date and you need to get your booster in order to be up to date." 

Dr. Walensky's comments were in response to a question asking why the agency is not changing its definition of "fully vaccinated." At a media conference earlier this month, Dr. Walensky said people are considered fully vaccinated if they've received their primary series. "That definition is not changing," she said. 

The CDC's messaging focus on staying up to date with shots comes amid the release of two separate studies finding that a booster dose was effective at preventing severe illness, especially among those 50 and older. 

More than 210 million Americans, or 63 percent of the population, had been fully vaccinated as of Jan. 23, CDC data shows. Of that percentage, nearly 40 percent had received a booster dose.

 

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