Booster shots against COVID-19 ‘distract a bit’, says doctor – Community News
Covid-19

Booster shots against COVID-19 ‘distract a bit’, says doctor

While eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots continues to increase in the US, not all doctors believe that’s where the focus should be in the fight against the coronavirus.

“Honestly, I think boosters are a bit distracting at this point from what we should be focusing on, which is getting the first doses, especially since we know that even now, even with the rising Delta, the primary doses of the vaccines be very high. protective against serious infections, against hospitalization,” Dr. Anand Swaminathan, an emergency medicine physician in New Jersey, said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above).

Booster shots are available in most states for people over the age of 65, those with certain underlying medical conditions, and those who work in occupations considered higher risk by CDC guidelines.

“These boosters will temporarily increase the antibodies that are circulating, which will then temporarily improve our effectiveness against fighting COVID in any form,” Swaminathan said. “But it doesn’t really give us the long-lasting immunity we’re looking for, it doesn’t really boost that, or at least we don’t know it does.”

‘Boriental don’t really get to those at higher risk’

Currently, 58.5% of the US population is fully vaccinated, while 67.7% has received at least one dose. (13.4% of those who have been fully vaccinated have received a booster shot.)

As part of an effort to ramp up vaccinations, President Biden recently announced that companies with more than 100 employees must require their employees to be vaccinated or tested weekly. The claim is currently being blocked by a federal appeals court.

This is because the country recently surpassed 46.6 million cases of coronavirus and 755,000 deaths. A report from Texas found that by 2021, unvaccinated individuals in the state were 40 times more likely to die from COVID than those who were fully vaccinated.

President Biden speaks in front of a vaccine board.

President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 vaccinations after touring a Clayco Corporation construction site for a Microsoft data center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

But breakthrough cases are more common due to the virulence of the Delta variant, which is where booster shots come into the conversation.

While extensive details have not yet been shared, preliminary data from Pfizer indicated that “receiving an additional booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine after the first two doses increases the amount of Delta variant antibodies fivefold in 18- to 55-year-olds.” and 11-fold in 65- to 85-year-olds,” according to Medical News Today.

However, Swaminathan doesn’t think boosters “will really affect much” for several reasons.

“What we want to avoid is the hospitalizations and the serious infections, and we don’t know if boosters really do that,” Swaminathan said. “In addition, we have some data from the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that the groups of people who get boosters tend to be of higher socioeconomic status. They tend to be whiter. They tend to be older.”

McLean, VIRGINIA - NOVEMBER 08: US First Lady Dr.  Jill Biden makes remarks at Franklin Sherman Elementary School on November 8, 2021 in McLean, Virginia.  dr.  Biden attended the school with US Surgeon General Dr.  Vivek Murthy to help promote COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 5-11.  (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

US First Lady Dr. Jill Biden makes remarks at Franklin Sherman Elementary School on November 8, 2021 in McLean, Virginia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

And with the exception of those who are older, he added, “we don’t really see booster uptake very high in the higher-risk population. So boosters don’t really get to those at higher risk.”

Rather than using resources to distribute booster shots that may not be fully effective, efforts should be directed to getting first doses in individuals both in the US and around the world, Swaminathan argued.

“Right now, the US is administering more boosters than many countries are administering any kind of vaccine, regardless of what level of vaccination,” Swaminathan said. “And until we have better vaccines worldwide, we won’t really be able to fight this pandemic. We are going to see more deaths and more dangerous variants.”

Adriana Belmonte is a reporter and editor on politics and health care policy for Yahoo Finance. You can follow her on Twitter @adrianambells and reach her at [email protected]

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