Definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ remains for Washington state

Dec 31, 2021, 1:14 PM | Updated: 1:27 pm
booster, fully vaccinated...
(AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

(AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

If you got your first COVID-19 vaccination shots a year ago and haven’t been able to find a booster yet, health officials say you’re still OK to eat out in King County restaurants.

US expands Pfizer COVID boosters, opens extra dose to age 16

Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary for Washington state’s COVID response, said two doses of COVID-19 vaccine is considered fully vaccinated.

Fehrenbach said the state has no plans, currently, to change the definition of “fully vaccinated” to those who are boosted. That definition also lines up with what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines as fully vaccinated.

Over time, however, health experts say the vaccines’ effectiveness does start to slowly wane. People are advised to get boosters six months after a Pfizer-Moderna series, or two months after Johnson & Johnson.

About 205 million (62%) Americans are fully vaccinated, and about 4.9 million (75.6%) Washingtonians are fully vaccinated as of Dec. 20. In contrast, the CDC says about 68.8 million (33%) of those who are fully vaccinated have received a booster shot, and the state DOH estimates 1.8 million Washingtonians have received a third shot.

As the highly transmissible omicron variant spreads across the country, more organizations and businesses are requiring people to obtain a booster before they’re considered “fully vaccinated,” and thus, eligible to enter public spaces and events.

On Tuesday, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the CDC director, said they’re working on clarifying the definition now, according to the New York Times.

“There really isn’t debate here in what people should do,” she added. “C.D.C. is crystal-clear on what people should do: If they’re eligible for a boost, they should get boosted.”

The remnants of the delta variant and the rise of omicron variant pushed the seven-day rolling average of new daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. above 350,000, nearly triple the rate of just two weeks ago, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The Associated Press and KIRO Radio’s Nicole Jennings contributed to this report.

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Definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ remains for Washington state