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Tensions Emerge Over Redefining the Fully Vaccinated

(by Nathaniel Weixel | The Hill) – A debate is emerging around what it means to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as some state and local officials push to change the definition to include an additional dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Governors in two states in the past week indicated they think three shots are necessary for full vaccination, but public health experts warn such a move would result in massive confusion, and a return to the piecemeal, scattered response that marked the early days of the pandemic.

“We’ve just moved from lots of confusion where most people were not aware, could not figure out, if they were eligible for a booster,” said Jennifer Kates, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“If states move out ahead and kind of change their definition of who they’re qualifying as fully vaccinated … that could create a lot more confusion again, because you’d have these different standards all over the country,” she said.

While just two governors have said they think the definition of fully vaccinated should include a booster shot, others could follow as concerns grow among officials about waning immunity levels.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) on Nov. 17 said she thinks three doses should be considered fully vaccinated, and the state, which does not currently have any vaccine mandates, was looking into implementing some.

“We … are analyzing what we can do to create those incentives — and potentially mandates — for making sure that people are fully vaccinated, which means three vaccines,” she said.

The state’s Health and Human Services Secretary David Scrase said he anticipates a public health order will be released in the coming weeks about updating the definition.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) similarly said last week that he thinks booster shots are needed to qualify a person as fully vaccinated, but did not indicate any health orders would be forthcoming.

The debate over what qualifies as fully vaccinated is tied up in the controversy over boosters. Read Full Article >

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