Family Healthcast: Are vaccine boosters needed?

Local News

(WSYR-TV) — Will we or won’t we need a booster shot for Coronavirus? 

Representatives of Pfizer are pressing their case for quick approval of booster vaccines with senior U.S. scientists and regulators. 

This comes amid growing public confusion about whether the extra dose will be needed and pushback from federal health officials who say right now they’re not necessary. 

Pfizer is gathering information on antibody responses in those who receive a third dose, as well as data from Israel which started giving third doses of the Pfizer vaccine to heart transplant patients and others with compromised immune systems. 

Any recommendations about booster shots are likely to be age specific. For example, if booster shots are recommended, they might go first to nursing home residents who received their vaccines in late 2020 or early 2021, while older people who received their first shots in the spring might have a longer wait. And then there is the question of what kind of booster: a third dose of the original vaccine, or perhaps a shot tailored to the highly infectious Delta variant, which is surging in the United States. 

With less than half of Americans fully vaccinated, some experts said that the country needed to remain focused on getting all Americans their first dose. One infectious disease specialist saying, “At this point, the most important booster we need is to get people vaccinated.” 

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