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Local health expert breaks down COVID booster shots

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 6:46 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2021 at 7:32 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Do you need a booster shot or not? It’s what many of you are asking since the White House recommended everyone who’s vaccinated get one starting September 20th.

The goal from the president is to have the boosters available for the general public starting the 20th of this month, but the FDA and local health experts say some questions are still in the air about when and who will need a booster.

More than 71,000 people in Richmond County have rolled up a sleeve for a vaccine. But do you need a third dose?

“What we see in other vaccines, we see that waning of the antibody levels and that’s the purpose of the booster shot if you will,” said Dr. Joshua Wyche, Assistant Vice President of Strategic Planning for Augusta University Health.

The FDA approved allowing a third dose of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for the immunocompromised whose bodies could not build enough protection from the first doses. The talk now is when that should open to everyone else.

“The real question here is, at what point in time down is a booster actually needed,” he said.

People without immune deficiencies are able to get the full protection after two doses. But Dr. Wyche says at some point that protection could begin to fade putting you back at risk. Despite the president’s call for boosters after eight months what doctors don’t know is exactly when it fades.

“Since then there’s been discussion that the right timeframe may be six months or maybe five months,” he said.

Or for who.

“So for a 40-year-old healthy individual who’s not working in healthcare, I might not need a booster, I might have enough protection from this.” but that’s the data that really needs to be evaluated and accessed and debated,” he said.

He says ‘the sooner the better’ doesn’t apply with boosters.

“Getting a booster shot too early may not give the long-term protection that ultimately people are seeking,” he said.

If booster shots do become available on September 20th the rollout will be the same as it was in December starting with healthcare workers and then continuing to open by age group. And the third dose will be the same as the first two.

Dr. Wyche says health experts recommend sticking with the same vaccine brand you received for the first two shots. However, the CDC says switching is safe but only if necessary.

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