Where Do COVID-19 Booster Shots Stand Now?

Wednesday, September 15th 2021, 4:41 pm


Right now, booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are only authorized and recommended for those with certain medical conditions that suppress the immune system. 

Those who qualify can get a dose 28 days after their second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna. 

"We are seeing breakthrough cases,” OU Health’s Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said. “We are seeing hospitalizations and deaths in fully-vaccinated individuals, especially the elderly. So I think it;s those studies --  the CDC and FDA and others -- will evaluate to decide whether there are at least parts of the population that should receive a booster dose.

Ahead of deciding whether or not to roll out boosters, the Centers for Disease Control laid out the framework that will aid in the decision. 

Within the framework is a breakdown of vaccine effectiveness, which showed the vaccine’s effective in preventing hospitalizations and severe disease but might be less effective in preventing infection or milder symptomatic illness.

The CDC attributes the lower effectiveness to waning over time and the highly-contagious Delta variant. 

"Young healthy, college-age person who is fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Bratzler. “Their risk of breakthrough infection remains very low. I just think it is very unlikely for a universal booster recommendation. I think it will be targeted to people who have high-risk conditions or the elderly and certainly as we already do the immunocompromised.”

The Food and Drug Administration plans to meet Friday to make a decision on booster shots.

If the agency authorizes third doses of the mRNA vaccines, a CDC advisory committee will meet to decide whether to recommend them. 


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