EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The United States has now reached 800,000 COVID deaths, and with booster shots and new variants, there seems to be some confusion on how to navigate through the pandemic.

In Pennsylvania, getting people vaccinated has been at the forefront of how the state fought this virus.

The big question doctors are trying to answer is, with more and more people now approved for booster shots, is it time we redefine the term ‘fully?’

The death count continues to rise.

“The majority of deaths have occurred in unvaccinated individuals and unfortunately, we also saw in 2021 with the arrival of much more transmissible variants,” explained Dr. Kavita Patel, Health Expert.

The majority of reported omicron cases in the U.S. have been in fully vaccinated individuals. But, several studies suggest a booster shot offers improved protection against the new variant.

“I think the booster should be included as soon as you’re eligible for it,” said Charles Barber of Wilkes-Barre.

The Federal Government isn’t changing what it means to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci described getting a booster dose as “the optimal protection against the coronavirus.”

But said for now, fully vaccinated still means two Moderna or Pfizer shots or a single Johnson & Johnson dose.

The mixed message that you’re considered fully vaccinated without a booster shot, but you should still get a booster shot, is admittedly confusing. Especially for business owners.

“It is a little confusing because you never know what the new rules are going to be so we just kinda go with what they recommend and things like that,” said George Blom, Co-owner, Bakery Delight.

Making matters even more complicated, kids aren’t yet eligible to get booster shots, so any change in the CDC’s definition of fully vaccinated would need to have separate criteria for those under 18.

Bakery Delight, Co-owner, George Blom says at the end of the day regardless of the technicality behind what is or isn’t considered “fully vaccinated,” he trusts his customers to do what’s right.

“Just do the right thing. I don’t think anyone should be mandated or forced to do anything. But i think with the right education everyone should do the right thing,” said Blom.

It’s been one year since the first doses of the vaccine rolled out. Fast forward, and now, 72 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.

A definition that, as of now, does not include booster shots.