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Dr. Anthony Fauci gets a booster shot with Stephen Colbert, talks about what could be in store this winter

“If you want to stay as healthy as this guy, head to vaccines.gov to find booster shots near you,” Colbert said after Fauci received his shot.

Dr. Anthony Fauci received his COVID booster shot while with Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show."The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/Youtube

Halloween is fast approaching. But it’s not ghouls and goblins that have Dr. Anthony Fauci feeling scared.

It’s “a thousand kids coming to my door breathing on me” Fauci joked Wednesday night, during an appearance on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert.

Luckily he had a remedy in mind so he can safely pass out treats.

Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Biden, received a COVID-19 booster shot while with Colbert at a pharmacy next to the show’s studio, a scene that had him laughing nonstop as the late-night host cracked a series of jokes.

Heading into the final stretch of his government career — Fauci spent more than a half-century in public service — the nation’s top infectious disease expert made his first in-studio appearance on the show this week. He kept up his role as the face of the pandemic response, breaking down topics like the latest science and efforts to boost vaccination rates among Americans.

But he also had a little more fun than usual.


Days after Fauci attended his class reunion at Holy Cross in Worcester last June, he was infected with the coronavirus. The timeline of events, Fauci told Colbert, meant that he had not yet received the latest booster shot for the BA.5 variant.

“I’m due for it because I got infected about three months ago,” he said on the show. “The recommendation is if you’ve gotten infected, wait three months and then get a booster.”

There’s no time like the present. So the two headed to the drug store down the street, where Colbert had Fauci repeat stereotypical New Yorker phrases like, “Hey, I’m walking here,” and “Forget about it” in his Brooklyn accent.

They exchanged quips about coronavirus conspiracy theories, like chips being placed in the vaccines and a claim about side effects made by Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend. At one point, Colbert lightly teased Fauci about his age and favorite type of candy (Kit Kat bars) as they browsed an aisle stocked with Halloween treats.


“Did they have these when you were a kid?” Colbert asked, referring to the Kit Kats.

The two also wore a pair of “sexy kitten ears” during the comedy bit, which was aimed at getting more people to get a booster shot at a time when national booster rates remain low.

Earlier in the show, Colbert brought up Biden’s recent comment about the pandemic being over — a statement he questioned personally.

He gestured to the masked people in the audience, and said more employees were out sick this week than the studio has “had in a long time.” Colbert asked Fauci when it will actually feel like the pandemic has come to an end.

“It’ll feel over in the real sense when it gets to such a low level in society that it doesn’t disrupt the social order,” Fauci said. “I don’t feel comfortable at all with saying we can live with 400 deaths a day. We have got to get the level of infection and the level of deaths and hospitalizations far, far lower.”

The country could face a wave of COVID-19 cases as cold weather approaches, Fauci said. But given the number of people who have already been vaccinated or infected — and the hope that more will get the latest booster shot — he expects that “you will get a dampening of effect.”


“This virus is so unique — unlike anything we’ve experienced — where you get the continuant emergence of variants that tend to elude the general protection that you get from the vaccine or from a prior infection,” Fauci said. “Then you wind up going into a winter season when most people would spend a lot of time indoors, and any respiratory infection ... always does better for the virus.”

The best way to stop the spread, Fauci said, is for people to “go out and get vaccinated.”

“We are down in the ranking of vaccination even below some low- and middle-income countries,” Fauci said. “So we’ve got to do better.”

Watch the interviews here:

Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.