COVID-19 Booster Shots Update

COVID-19 Booster Shots Update

3:48pm Sep 01, 2021
An untold number of Americans have managed to get COVID-19 booster shots. They're doing so by taking advantage of the nation’s vaccine surplus and loose tracking of those who have been fully vaccinated. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for people with compromised immune systems. The shots may be more widely available soon.

Talk of boosters began in order to address the roughly three percent of vaccinated people for whom the response has not been effective enough. They include solid organ transplant recipients, people on active chemotherapy, and those who already take immunosuppressive medicines.

But new data also indicates diminished protection among other individuals who were vaccinated many months ago. Duke Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Cameron Wolfe says boosters may become more widely available later this month with health care workers and older adults at the front of the line.

"So, if you're a 35-year-old, who has gone through and you know, had your two doses of Pfizer vaccine, for example, really has no risk of severe COVID, and is not frontline, health care working situation, that's different," says Wolfe. "I think we need to still see a little bit more data to fully understand why that person would need to be boosted, and if that's absolutely crucial."

Wolfe says lessons learned from the vaccine rollouts should be applied to the booster including a clear timeline and more transparency to guard against disinformation. 

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