LAFAYETTE (KPIX 5) – The United States will soon recommend a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for just about everyone who is fully vaccinated. An announcement from the White House is expected as soon as this week.
Once again, health officials are looking at data from Israel, a country that had a head start with vaccinations. They’re seeing some evidence that vaccine protection does decay over time, and that could soon lead America’s vaccinated to an 8-month clock.
“We were vaccinated first in January, second in February,” says Beverlry Pincus of Orinda.
She and her husband Yale are not waiting for any kind of official policy. They have come up with their own plans to get a 3rd pfizer shot in just the next couple days.
“I didn’t want to wait a few more months for them to say ‘Oh yes, you can get the boosters,’ and then I can’t get an appointment,” Beverly says. “I’m ready, willing, and able.”
“More than a million Americans have already, on their own, gotten a third shot if they had two shots before,” says UCSF’s Dr. Peter Chin-Hong. “Or an additional shot if they’ve gotten J&J.”
While the booster idea has been gaining momentum, the move by The White House strikes Chin-Hong as surprisingly sudden. It would recommend a 3rd shot for everyone who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, eight months after your full vaccination date.
“So it’s going to be very similar to how it was rolled out. Nursing home residents, healthcare workers, those over 65, those with comorbidities,” he says of the rollout.
There are no details yet on what type of logistics would support this nationwide booster campaign, but some health experts worry about the optics of that, while much of the world is still struggling to obtain vaccine.
“Now, all of a sudden you are saying ‘forget the two doses, which was hard enough for you to get, three doses is kind of the new normal, and, you know, get with the program,'” Chin-Hong says.
As for those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it’s expected that there will be a recommendation that there be some kind of a booster, but it’s not clear what that advice will be. Several studies are being conducted on how that vaccine responds to a J&J booster, or a shot of Pfizer vaccine as a booster.
Some of that data will be released in the next couple of weeks, just as more details on the booster plan are provided.