By Samuetta Hill Drew
Millions of Americans across our country have or are scheduled to receive their Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shots, while findings show that one in four Americans have yet to receive any COVID-19 vaccine.
The lack of vaccination in a given population has some experts weighing the need for boosters for the general population or focusing on getting those one in four unvaccinated Americans shots because they believe stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus lies within this population.
Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a research scientist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, argues the point that “it is more important to get vaccines to unvaccinated populations and offer boosters to high-risk people for now than it is to get a third booster six months out for all.” More people getting vaccinated for the first time is still the best way out of the pandemic. Note, most of the world is still far behind the U.S. and Europe in their vaccination rates.
This discussion about boosters goes beyond the walls of scientific research and medical facilities, boardrooms and/or organizations. The discussion is being held between the general American populations. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a list of most frequently asked questions and answers regarding this topic. A few below are. The remaining ones will be featured in next week’s safety article.
Q. When can I get a COVID-19 booster if I am NOT one in the recommended groups?
A. Additional populations may be recommended to receive a booster shot as more data become available. The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Experts are looking at all available data to understand how well the vaccines are working for different populations. This includes looking at how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness.
Q. What should people who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) vaccine do?
A. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDC’s recommendations are bound by what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization allows. At this time, the Pfizer-BioNTech booster authorization only applies to people whose primary series was Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. People in the recommended groups who got Moderna or J&J/Janssen vaccine will likely need a booster shot. More data regarding the effectiveness and safety of Moderna and J&J/Janssen booster shots are expected soon. With those data in hand, the CDC will keep the public informed with a timely plan for Moderna and J&J/Janssen booster shots.
Q. If we need a booster shot, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working?
A. No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, the public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease.
Let’s stay current on the latest COVID-19 virus to Help Keep an Eye on Safety for everyone because the pandemic is not over. It is still here with us every day, so practice recommended COVID-19 safety guidelines.