- The FDA and CDC are expected to introduce the COVID-19 booster to anyone who wants one, and at least six months after their first vaccination by the end of the week.
- California, New Mexico and Colorado are among the states that have made boosters available to everyone who got their dose earlier than six months ago.
- The CDC has said it’s safe to mix brands of the vaccine, and data suggests Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna will provide better protection than a second J&J shot.
COVID-19 vaccines do a great job of preventing hospitalization and death, but their protection against infection begins to fade after about six months – even in young, healthy people.
That’s why at the end of the week, the booster dose may be recommended for all adults – or at least those over the age of 30.
Ted Ross, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Georgia in Athens who has given himself a booster shot, says there is no benefit to getting a third shot.
The side effects do not appear to be different from the first two. He said: “The US government has bought so many doses so long ago that many people will go to waste if they are not used soon. And adding protection seems like a good idea as 1,000 Americans die every day from COVID-19.
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“That’s what the boosters could do to help reduce the increase or increase that we’re going to see this winter,” when people travel and spend more time indoors, Ross said. “That peak or that slope hopefully won’t be too steep.”
His view is shared by many experts: while the first two shots may be enough to prevent hospitalization and death, a third shot will provide extra protection while the pandemic remains a part of life. daily.
“Vaccinations work, and boosters optimize vaccination,” said presidential adviser Anthony Fauci on Wednesday at a White House news conference.
At the end of Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration is likely toauthorizes the COVID-19 booster vaccine for anyone who wants to get it and is at least six months away from the first shot.
An advisory committee and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will likely provide impetus to all thumbs on Friday, although there is some chance they will limit the injection to people over 30 years old because of a rare side effect mainly in younger men.
Adolescent males and young adults have seen a rare but relatively high rate of myocarditis, a swelling of the heart muscle, within a week or two of vaccination. Myocarditis, which can also be caused by a COVID-19 infection, is usually mild and lasts only a short time after vaccination.
The Biden administration said it pre-purchased enough doses to give every American a free booster shot.
In the short term, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be made available as a booster dose to everyone six months after the initial injection, but the FDA and CDC are likely to add the Moderna booster soon. .
Additional doses have been given over several months to people with compromised immune systems, including blood cancer patients and organ transplant recipients, who are not likely to be well protected from the first two shots. their.
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The federal government has authorized the use of boosters after six months for people 65 and older, younger people with health problems, and people whose jobs put them at higher risk of contracting COVID. -19.
People who have had a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine are encouraged to get a second dose at least two months after the first dose.
Several states, including California, New Mexico and Colorado, and New York City, have made boosters available to everyone who received a dose earlier than six months ago.
CDC said is it safe to mix brands of vaccines?, get one Pfizer-BioNTech plate after two Moderna panels or vice versa. The data suggest that either vaccine, which is similar, is more protective than the second J&J shot.
The booster for the Pfizer-BioNTech or J&J vaccine is identical to the original shots; Moderna’s boosters are half the size of the previous dose.
It’s not clear whether this will be the last COVID-19 shot everyone will need – whether immune protection will continue to fade or the virus will change enough that a new vaccine is needed.
For some viruses, three doses provide lifelong protection, while for others, such as influenza, an annual vaccination is needed to protect against the changing pathogen.
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Dr. Julie Morita, executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said she wants to wait to see the data presented to the CDC advisory committee before deciding whether to get a booster shot.
Other experts are convinced.
“Do the boosters work, and will they bring down the incidents? I think that’s a resounding “yes,” said Dr Vincent Rajkumar, an oncologist at the Mayo Clinic who has been closely following the pandemic.
Everyone – even a small percentagevaccinated people – are dying of COVID-19 in Minnesota, where Rajkumar lives. People who have been vaccinated die at a much lower rate than those who are not, he said. Five out of every 100,000 Minnesotans over the age of 65 who are immunized will die from COVID-19, compared with 89 per 100,000 who are unvaccinated.
He said: “Rising vaccinations for older people is required to protect them, but booster vaccinations for others will reduce infections in general, which will keep everyone safer.
Former surgeon general Jerome Adams said people should get a COVID-19 booster as soon as they are eligible.
People get tired of wearing masks, he says, and if they want to take them off, they need to compensate with energy pills.
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“We need to double down on other tools in our toolbox that we know can be effective,” says Adams, who was a general surgeon from 2017 to 2021. return – up to 94%, 95%, 96% – the effectiveness of the vaccine against the spread. “
About 15% of those who qualified for the boosters received them – which Adams blamed on a lack of information about their benefits and who were eligible. He said: “Opening boosters to everyone will help reduce that confusion. Adams says it’s much easier to convince a vaccinated person to get a booster shot than it is to convince an unvaccinated person to get a first round.
Infection with COVID-19 offers some protection, but it’s unclear how long or how long it will last, said Ross, of the University of Georgia. Vaccinated people develop more antibodies than people who have been infected but not vaccinated.
He said a vaccine would not eliminate COVID-19, just as polio vaccination has failed to eliminate that disease despite half a century of global efforts. But they will allow society to live with COVID-19 the way we live with the flu.
“Trying and having 100 percent prevention of infection with any circulating virus is not a likely outcome, but if you prevent severe illness, you prevent further transmission,” says Ross. hospitalization, you prevent death, which I think is an achievable goal,” Ross said.
Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, says everyone needs booster shots regardless of their age, health condition or occupation.
“The initial thought that ‘there is no need for boosters for all adults’ is being revisited by doctors and scientists,” Glatter said by email. “In my view, this shift in thinking stems not only from clinicians’ experience caring for patients with disruptive cases of COVID-19, but coupled with recent data. showed that the effectiveness of the vaccine decreased over time, especially 6 to 8 months after completing the two-shot series.”
Protecting against infections that are too mild to go unnoticed — as an extra measure — will prevent people from unknowingly passing the virus on to others, Glatter said.
“The bottom line is that we need to respect the delta variation, which means that a third dose should be preferred for all adults, especially as the holidays approach, the weather gets colder and we We’ll gather inside,” Glatter said.
Contact Karen Weintraub at email@example.com.
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