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Local COVID expert looks ahead as booster shots gain traction

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Booster shots have now been recommended by the FDA, but some people may argue they are ineffective and say they will not need them. We spoke with local health officials about what they can anticipate and the different ways they are working to get full immunity.

“People are very stuck in their decision to not get the vaccine,” said Dr. Joshua Wyche, AU Health.

More boosters could be on the way, but local health officials say the gap between the vaccinated and unvaccinated continues to grow.

“The unvaccinated, it’s a very slow trickle. They make up a small percentage of the total number of vaccinations AU administers on a daily basis,” he said. “The vast majority of the vaccine that we administer today are booster doses.”

He says every time COVID spreads from one individual to the next, the virus gets the opportunity to evolve — that’s why they’re working to decrease the chance of transmission, giving the vaccines the best opportunity to work.

“Hospitalizations and ICU stays and deaths is going to be primarily by two groups. One is going to be driven by the unvaccinated. The second group is by those who are vaccinated and are unable to create enough immune response to depressed immune systems, whether that’s from disease or the medication they’re taking,” he said.

He says right now they are continuing with their outreach efforts to reach those who haven’t received their first dose. He says the quicker we close the gap — the better we will be moving forward.

“We can live our normal lives and protect those that are most at risk that’s really going to be the key moving forward,” he said.

Vaccine advisers voted unanimously to recommend Moderna COVID-19 booster shots now the FDA and CDC are set to meet later on Thursday to make a final decision.

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