CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Health experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 boosters for all Americans – shortly after recommending them for people with weakened immune systems.
As coronavirus and delta variant cases continue to surge in the Mountain State, state health officials are still pushing the public to get vaccinated. “In the state of West Virginia and in our experience here, it’s 90% of the cases or more. The delta variant is much more contagious than the original virus,” said Dr. Michael Kilkenny, the Executive Director at the Cabell Huntington Health Department.
And now, US health experts are looking at the possibility of a third dose for those who have been fully vaccinated for 8 months. “Those people who have had their original dose or original vaccine in December and January, we need to start taking a look at getting them an additional dose as well,” said Dr. Sherri Young, Health Officer for the Kanawha Charleston Health Department.
Right now, the FDA has only cleared an additional dose for those with weakened immune systems or transplant patients. “It really is only about three percent of the population, but these are people who, because of immune suppression, are not going to respond to each individual dose the same as a normal person would,” added Dr. Kilkenny.
If you are looking to get an additional shot, recommend sticking with the same dose as your original vaccine. “What the FDA recommends is that if you’ve started with say the Pfizer vaccine, then you stay with the third dose of the Pfizer vaccine or if you started with the Moderna vaccine then you stay with the Moderna vaccine, but they say that to the best of your ability. The key is to stay with mRNA vaccines so you would not want to crossover, we’re not giving an additional dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” said Dr. Young.
Among the first to receive them could be health care workers, nursing home residents and other older Americans, who were some of the first to be vaccinated once the shots received emergency use authorization last December.