Whether Americans will need to get a fourth COVID-19 shot remains uncertain as the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said it is unclear at this point.

“We do not know at this point, but we’re collecting data. We may not need to get boosted every six months or so, but if we do, we’ll address it," Fauci said during Monday's White House coronavirus briefing. "We’ll find the data, make it public and address it accordingly.”

Fauci maintained that a number of global studies have shown that booster shots “significantly enhance” protection against COVID-19. He added that he hopes booster shots would allow the immune response to “mature and strengthen,” more so than the vaccines’ immunity, which waned several months after receiving the second dose of the shot.

“It’s referred to immunologically as 'affinity maturation,' which means the B cells that will be making the antibodies have the opportunity to gain greater strength and hopefully greater durability,” Fauci said.

“If that’s the case, then we may not need to get boosted every six months or so. But if it does wane, which I hope it doesn’t, then we will address it,” he added.

Last week, federal regulators authorized booster doses for all vaccinated Americans 18 and older who received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines. Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were already recommended to get a booster dose.

More than 36 million Americans have received booster doses, accounting for 18.4% of vaccinated people in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC also reported that over 196.3 million citizens are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or 59.2% of the U.S. population. About 60 million Americans remain unvaccinated.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said on Monday that the current seven-day daily average of COVID cases in the U.S. is about 92,800 per day, up 18% from last week’s average. The seven-day average daily deaths from COVID-19 are about 1,000 per day, she added.

vaccine-6561400_1920 Representation. Vaccination cards. Photo: Pixabay