What to expect from the COVID-19 booster shot

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COVID-19 laboratory researcher pipes liquids into 5mL microcentrifuge tubes. Photo courtesy of by Martin Lopez from Pexels.

The Delta variant is still surging through communities across the Las Vegas Valley. In Nevada, case numbers are stagnant, ranging from 1000 to 1500 cases a day, according to the Nevada Independent. The implementation of a COVID-19 booster shot could alleviate some of that spread. 

“We know that immunity from the vaccine does wane over time,” UNLV School of Medicine Dean Marc J. Kahn said. “We are being better safe than sorry and recommending booster vaccines”

The booster shot is an extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that is recommended by the CDC to those that are immunocompromised. In Nevada, those who are 70 years old and older were the first age group allowed to receive the vaccine at the start of the year. 

The Washington Post also reports that booster shoots will help to counteract the waning immunity reported by top U.S health officials.

“Ultimately, boosters make sense and we are likely to have one coming in the near future,” UNLV Assistant Professor and Epidemiologist Brain Labus said. 

Kahn suspects that as long as we have a population that is unvaccinated, there could be a possibility of getting annual booster shots in the future.

According to the Southern Nevada Health District, 59 percent of the southern Nevadans have initiated vaccination, and nearly 48 percent are fully vaccinated. Hospitalization has also fallen to half of where the number used to be in the middle of August.  

The Biden administration announced its plans to make the booster shot available to the public by Sept. 20, according to the New York Times. The announcement of this plan comes before regulatory approvals by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“I think the White House got a little ahead of itself and didn’t necessarily follow the process,” Labus said. “These kinds of things take time.” 

Pfizer submitted paperwork to the FDA last week and Moderna submitted it on Sept. 1, according to Labus. 

The White House’s pandemic response team has drawn criticism for publicly planning and endorsing the booster rollout prior to regulatory approval. The New York Times reports that in doing so, they have increased the pressure of regulatory agencies to align with administrative strategy.  

“Now those agencies are in a box,” University of Pennsylvania Professor of Medical Ethics Steven Joffee said to the NYT

Vaccinations are still the priority and Kahn assures that the boosters will not hinder current vaccination efforts to those who have not become fully vaccinated.

“The country has ample supply and capacity to vaccinate,” Khan said. “Giving boosters is not going to slow vaccination, nor will it deprive people of initial vaccines.”

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