ELMIRA, NY. (WETM) – The Biden Administration – along with federal health officials and medical experts – are expected to recommend that the majority of fully vaccinated individuals in the United States receive a booster shot eight months after their second dose.
The move comes as the highly contagious Delta Variant sweeps across the nation. Experts believe a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine could be a game-changer when it comes to fighting the mutation.
Over time, the efficacy of the vaccine goes down and the possibility of being infected by Covid goes up,” Arnot Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steven Heneghan explained.
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer released a statement that said a third dose of its vaccine “elicits antibody levels that significantly exceed those seen after the two-dose primary schedule.”
The rollout of a third dose is likely to mirror that of January’s. Among the first to receive the third doses could be health care workers, nursing home residents and other older Americans.
Over 198 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with more than 168 million having been fully vaccinated.
At this time, it’s still unclear if American’s will need to get the COVID vaccine annually, much like the flu shot.
“I think it depends upon how many times the Covid virus mutates and how many variants we end up suffering from as a result of the mutations,” Steuben County Public Health Director Darlene Smith said.
Some American’s Already Eligable for Third Dose
COVID-19 booster shots have already been approved for millions of Americans who are especially vulnerable because of organ transplants, certain cancers and other disorders.
Immunocompromised patients make up roughly 2.7-percent of the U.S. adult population and 44-percent of hospitalized breakthrough infections, according to the CDC. According to a small study from the CDC, immunocompromised people are more likely to transmit the virus to household contacts.
The CDC recommends people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional vaccine dose at least 28 days after their second dose.