Lansing hospital says “hard to know,” if we need a COVID-19 booster shot

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — U.S. Health officials and leaders of Pfizer met today to talk about authorization for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC and FDA released a press release on Thursday stating those who are fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time, but will they need one later?

“For some, they think a booster is needed to reactivate those antibodies to get back to that level where it was previously to have some additive protection against COVID-19,” said Dr. Paul Entler, Sparrow Vice-President of Quality and Performance Improvement

“So we don’t really know whether COVID-19 is going to be something that we have to get every year or if it’s something that we might have to get every couple of years. We don’t really know that yet so that’s what we’re waiting on,” said Anne Barna, director of planning and health promotions at Barry-Eaton Health Department.

Pfizer is conducting research to see if a 3rd dose of the same vaccine can be used or another version.

Dr. Paul Entler says he’s not sure if a booster will be needed.

“With the sheer effectiveness, we’re seeing hospitalizations among the unvaccinated but not so much with the vaccinated. I think if we saw the converse then definitely a booster is needed but it’s too early to tell,” said Dr. Entler. 

But can too much of something be a bad thing?

“These have been studied for a long period of time, they go through rigorous trials and studies so it’s not just something that was created the other day. So there’s a lot of safety parameters that go into place,” said Dr. Entler. “We’ve all had tetanus boosters, and we’ve had other boosters that last 10 years. When we were young we had measles shots, there were boosters with that but you know they last for a long period of time. It’s hard to know.”

The time frame of when or if a booster is needed is not clear just yet, but the Barry-Eaton Health Department is ready to go if approved.

“We have a lot of vaccine providers now that would be able to provide booster shots should they become recommended,” said Barna. 

In Michigan, 62.2% of people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 47.9% are fully vaccinated. Health experts are encouraging those concerned about getting vaccinated to speak to someone they trust.

“If people are worried that they need to get a booster shot they can always talk to their own primary care provider,” said Barna. “We’re working on encouraging everybody who hasn’t been vaccinated to come on in and get vaccinated, particularly because the Delta variant is on its way and we know it’s going to be more contagious, and it’s going to be really difficult for people that haven’t been vaccinated. It’ll be a lot better if they are vaccinated to avoid getting COVID-19,” said Barna. 

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