North Texas providers advise second COVID-19 booster shots for those at risk
Immunocompromised people and those over the age of 50 can now get a second COVID-19 booster shot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends people who are immunocompromised and over the age of 50 get a second COVID-19 booster shot. This comes as a new omicron variant, BA.2, has become the dominant virus strain in the U.S.
Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, an epidemiologist with University of Texas at Dallas, said this is a proactive move.
“The booster specifically with omicron was incredibly important. It reminds me of a debate last fall, many scientists said there wasn’t enough evidence for boosters, but boy were we lucky when we had boosters before omicron arrived.”
The CDC reported that people who had a booster were significantly protected against hospitalization and death than those who were unvaccinated. People at risk for COVID-19 complications, including older adults and those with chronic health conditions, can now get a second booster four months after their first booster.
“We don't know what the future holds,” Jetelina said. “I think that we prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and we have to see where this goes.”
Dr. Robert Gottlieb, who works on COVID-19 therapeutic treatments for Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, thinks protection against the virus will get more streamlined over time.
“At some point we’ll be savvy enough to predict which are the major changes that can all be covered in a single vaccine, rather than having a potpourri of vaccines,” he said.
Gottlieb also hopes other treatments, like oral antiviral therapies, will become more widespread and accessible.
“Imagine, a patient could fill a prescription and travel with it domestically or abroad, and if they were to test positive, they could start the medicine,” he said. “I think that would be a great advance.”
Both Gottlieb and Jetelina are also waiting to see what the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decide on vaccines for children under the age of 5 this spring and the potential for an updated COVID-19 vaccine targeting omicron.
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