PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As coronavirus concerns mount across the country and states are reporting record-shattering surges in cases, the Biden administration is looking to give the fight against COVID-19 a new shot in the arm.
The Biden administration is expected to announce that everyone should get a COVID-19 booster shot eight months after they were fully vaccinated.
It comes as COVID-19 cases are going up while vaccination rates are slowing down.
“I’m a little concerned about the cases rising and the delta variant,” said Tom Czekki, who’s vaccinated.
For Czekki, he’s already vaccinated, so what are the options to provide further protection? UPMC’s Dr. Donald Yealy said that’s where booster shots come into play.
“The protection can begin to change over time. You still have excellent protection, you will for months. A booster shot, should you avail yourself to it and we’re recommending that, will give you peace of mind and assuredness that you have the best possible protection,” Yealy said.
The Biden Administration is expected to recommend everyone get a booster shot eight months following their last dose.
“There is not really anything magical about that number, I wouldn’t worry if it’s eight months or nine months. You have very good protection for an extended period of time. It’s an insurance policy, not fixing a deficit,” Yealy said.
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A potential concern is that adding another dose to the vaccination campaign will discourage people who are already skeptical about shots’ effectiveness. KDKA found that concern to be true for Ian Hemingway, who’s not vaccinated.
“When you say booster shots, that just makes me look at it all weird because you said one shot, then it was two, now it’s three. How many shots do you have to get to be safe?” Hemingway said.
That’s a question Dr. Yealy said is too early to know. He said there is a potential that COVID-19 shots could become yearly like the flu.
Health care workers, nursing home residents and older people could be among the first to receive the booster since they got their vaccine first.
Health experts are still gathering data surrounding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but believe those who received that shot will need a booster as well.
Pfizer says that data shows a third dose produces a significantly higher antibody response compared to the two doses, so it will strongly boost protection against COVID-19 and its variants.
Just last week, the FDA and CDC recommended a booster shot for certain individuals who are immuno-compromised, at least 28 days after their second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine.
UPMC, Allegheny Health Network and Giant Eagle are among local providers offering that third shot.