NIH director talks about safety of vaccines against Delta variant and boosters

How effective are our vaccines against the Delta variant - and when should you get a booster shot?

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health is answering some questions about the COVID-19 vaccine - and the breakthrough cases that seem to be happening more frequently.
FOX 2: "How safe would you say are people who are vaccinated and are waiting to get the booster?"

Dr. Collins: "They’re quite safe against severe disease, probably 25 fold less likely to end up getting sick enough to need to be in the hospital than an unvaccinated person. So it’s not absolute. But 25 fold is pretty darn good out they're about 80 fold less likely to get infected at all or have any kinds of symptoms.

"It’s not absolute and that’s one of the reasons we are looking at the possibility of the need for boosters. That’s going to be a big discussion with the FDA and the CDC in the next three weeks. It well may be, that the people who got vaccinated at the beginning of all of this, who are now about seven or eight months away from that, maybe about ready for their immune system to get one more kick.

"Nobody listening to this should be worried, saying oh my God I need to get my booster today, right now we are in good shape."

FOX 2: "So many people have senior citizens in their lives, and are wondering how protected as we fast forward to October and November."

Dr. Collins: "You mentioned immunocompromised people and these are people who some of the systems don’t necessarily respond to the typical vaccination program, those people are now clear to get a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna  They can get it right now because we looked at the data is that there’s no reason to hold off percent of the population, those are people with organ transplants or people who have chemotherapy for cancer. If you are one of those people you might want to get an extra dose right now because your immune system might need an additional kick to get you into the safe space. But for the rest of us who the moon system seems to be OK, they’re in good shape, but you can see over time that this kind of a boost is going to be the best way to keep people safe."

FOX 2: "We keep hearing about other variants that are hitting other parts of the world, like in South Africa for instance. How concerned are you about that and how concerned should we be?"

Dr. Collins: "We are tracking this day by day, there is lambda, and mu out there and we are basically working with all the laboratories both public and private. When a new variant arises, I want to quickly check out whether this is a bad one that we had to pay attention to and be prepared to deal with."

Dr. Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health

FOX 2: "Well we should we be concerned that those variants will be here this winter that land our new will be here?"

Dr. Collins: "I don’t know it’s very hard to look in the crystal ball because it’s kind of murky, at the moment, the next one would have to be incredibly successful to outcompete Delta because Delta has been so capable in such a short period of time, completely dominating the viral population. I think will primarily be dealing with Delta over the coming months."