WASHINGTON, DC – March 25, 2022 – The Biden administration will offer Americans age 50 years and older a second booster of Pfzer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine according to a New York Times article on March 25, 2022. It has been estimated that thousands of lives can be saved and tens of thousands of hospitalizations can be prevented, if an additional booster for high-risk groups can be encouraged prior to the next COVID-19 wave of infections. Coordinating boosters with forecasting the next surge is a big dilemma. Recommending boosters without a surge of infections will waste vaccine and erode public trust in government and public health.
The Food & Drug Administration recently authorized second booster shots for people 50 and older and for some immunocompromised individuals. The CDC has not weighed in yet although it may do so in the near future. CDC, Britain and Israel studies have shown that the booster is less effective after 3 to 6 months. The CDC measured effectiveness against severe illness; Britain and Israel measured effectiveness against symptomatic infection and hospitalization. Early data from Israel indicate that the 2nd booster raises antibody levels to the level after the first booster and may decrease deaths. Seventy-five percent of deaths in the United States due the COVID virus have been in the at-risk 65 year and over age group. In Buncombe County, 90% of this age group has had their full series of vaccinations and 75% of the vaccinated have had their boosters.
Dr. Peter Hotez, an expert in vaccines from Baylor College of Medicine said, “We are going to have to make this decision on the basis of incomplete information.”
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Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, firstname.lastname@example.org