Central New York providers gearing up to administer COVID booster shots


SYRACUSE N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With the Delta variant showing no signs of slowing down, additional COVID-19 protection is on the way to fight off waning immunity across the United States.

On Wednesday, U.S. health officials and the White House announced most Americans will be eligible to get a booster shot 8 months after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Experts say vaccine effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine does lessen over time. However, two new CDC reports show no significant drop when it comes to keeping people out of the hospital.

The rollout of the booster shots could start as early as the week of September 20, according to the Associated Press.

Those who received the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine will also most likely need an extra dose, but experts say there isn’t enough data yet.

Providers and doctors in Central New York are gearing up to administer those booster shots, but there are still many questions surrounding the guidance.

Dr. Philip Falcone, St. Joseph’s Health Chief Medical Officer, has heard from patients who are immunocompromised. He said the main question folks are asking is if getting a third dose is the right decision.

Last week on August 12, the Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use authorization for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines among those who have moderate to severe autoimmune deficiencies.

We have seen that there is a need for that among the severely immune compromised. I think the rest of the populations are going to have to wait and see whether in fact it’s absolutely required or absolutely necessary. I think it’s certainly going to be available and I believe it won’t be a problem to get it.

Dr. Philip Falcone, Chief Medical Officer, St. Joseph’s Health

With more supply of the vaccine, Dr. Falcone said the majority of people won’t have to rush to get their booster right away.

“I would reassure those people who are vaccinated,” Dr. Falcone said. “You are still quite safe. Getting a third dose booster is certainly out there as an opportunity, but it’s not a situation where you absolutely have to or you won’t be protected because I don’t think that’s the situation here.”

Dr. Falcone believes the priority still must be to vaccinate as many individuals with their first round of the vaccine, before seriously considering booster shots.

His message for those who aren’t vaccinated yet is simple: get the vaccine.

In this country, only 50% of the population has been vaccinated. So, there’s still quite a lot of people who haven’t even gone through the preliminary set of vaccinations.

To be as protected as possible as a community, we need as many people as possible to be vaccinated in the first place before we start thinking strongly about third doses.

Dr. Philip Falcone, Chief Medical Officer, St. Joseph’s Health

The Biden administration will require all nursing home staff to be vaccinated and could take effect as early as next month. The official regulation will come from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services.

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