Who is considered fully vaccinated in Michigan? Health experts weigh in

Covid Vaccine Booster Shot
Posted at 6:56 AM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 06:56:30-05

(WXYZ) — Booster shots are now available to all adults in the United States and health officials say those third shots are a key tool in controlling the pandemic.

But the new recommendations from the CDC and FDA bring up the question: what is fully vaccinated? Two shots or three?

Michigan’s top infectious disease doctor says it’s somewhere in between and depends on who you are.

"In my view, if you were vaccinated more than six months ago, you’re not fully vaccinated,” Governor of Connecticut Ned Lamont said.

But back here in Metro Detroit, the issue is not as clear.

"Fully vaccinated is two shots. But I feel like, as with every year, like, you get the flu, you just may have to get a booster," Tony Smith said.

"Two shots and a booster," said Connie Ettinger

And Tailyn Belcher believes "[they're just] adding more to it every day. So I think for me personally, it's a lot and it's a lot to handle. And it's overwhelming to a lot of people."

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan's Chief Medical Officer says the state follows CDC guidelines and the definition of fully vaccinated hasn’t changed.

"So here at the state, and according to the CDC, you are fully vaccinated two weeks after completing your second dose of a two-dose vaccination series," she said.

Or two weeks after the single dose Johnson&Johnson shot.

But Dr. Bagdasarian says we’re still learning what long-term immunity looks like, and that understanding may change definitions in the future.

"For what we know right now, it's a fair assumption and a fair decision to say that someone is fully vaccinated after they have completed their primary series," Dr. Bagdasarian said.

But the need for a booster is real. Immunity appears to decrease after 6 months. It may take a little longer for some people.

"And so in order to make sure that you have the most robust immune response possible, that booster dose is a nice safety net," Dr. Bagdasarian said.

And we need that safety net right now in Michigan, the state with some of the highest case rates in the country as we enter the cold and flu season.