Is it time for another COVID-19 booster?By Veita Bland, M.D. / April 1, 2022
Just as many people are beginning to come out of their isolation, a real question is upon us. Is it time to get another booster shot for COVID-19? This sobering question comes as many people are starting to forget that we still have a pandemic around and people are still dying each and every day from this virus and its complications.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reported that it had approved an extra booster shot for Pfizer and Moderna for adults 50 years and older. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) has endorsed this. In this world where so many people have chosen not to take advantage of the vaccine, the question remains, to whom should this booster be given?
There are a couple of principals that might help us unpack these thoughts. One is, as we age, our immune system is not as vibrant as it was in its youth. That is why healthcare providers administer pneumonia, shingles and other shots to older adults. Second, if a person is immunocompromised due to the effects of a chronic illness such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, kidney failure, COPD, liver failure, cancers of any types, organ transplants or HIV to just name a few conditions, that person’s ability to fight off viruses and other bacteria is compromised (or has declined) and he/she is more susceptible to contracting an illness.
Scientific evidence has shown that vaccine protection against COVID-19 saves lives, however its effectiveness wanes over time. Older adults who are immunocompromised should expect to get a second booster in the near future. As it stands, more than two-thirds of adults over the age of 65 have received all of their currently required COVID-19 vaccinations. This is also a prime group that would get a second COVID-19 booster.
These vaccines are already being given in Israel and other countries. Public health experts are currently assessing and preparing for any possible COVID-19 outbreaks this fall.
The Omicron subvariant that is affecting parts of Europe has already landed on our shores and there is concern regarding what may happen in the upcoming months.
The government has continued to provide the COVID-19 boosters free of charge. As the months get warmer and reported cases decline, now is the time to take stock of things. We are still faced with many unknown regarding this virus such as its effects on people who are now experiencing long COVID. Look at your age and remember that as you get older, so does your immune system.
Assess any chronic medical problems and health condition with your primary care or specialty healthcare provider and get a booster when your turn is called. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over!
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at email@example.com.