Online Originals: Why do we need a booster shot for the COVID-19 vaccine? Your questions answered by experts

Online Originals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Experts from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health hosted a media briefing Wednesday afternoon, examining the current state of COVID-19 vaccine rollout efforts in the United States.

Experts say America is past the first challenge, developing and distributing a large number of vaccines. Now, the focus lies with getting enough people to take the vaccine in order to receive herd immunity.  

COVID cases are surging in hotspots like Michigan. Some countries are behind in their efforts to distribute vaccines. On Wednesday, experts answered many questions popping up by these new challenges.

Dr. Anna Durbin, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said there are two reasons why the U.S. is seeing a spike in COVID cases in places like Michigan.

“One, we do get confidence with vaccinations and seeing vaccinations rollout,” Durbin said. “I think people relaxed a little bit, they’re doing more without their masks and without social distancing. And then we’ve also seen reports in the news that the BB17 [U.K. COVID-19 Strain] variant is circulating in Michigan, and we do know that’s more transmissible.”

North Carolina’s Racial Breakdown of Cases and Deaths
(Via Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center).

Vaccinated people are also hearing they may need a booster shot. Pfizer’s CEO, whose vaccine is just as effective, announced Thursday people will likely need a booster of their shot within a year. The CEO of drug company Moderna announced this week that they will make a third booster shot for the two-dose vaccine available by the fall.

Dr. Naor Bar-Zeey, Deputy director at the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said this isn’t unusual when it comes to vaccines.

“It’s very normal that we have booster doses of the vaccines,” Bar-Zeey said. “The expectation that the vaccine is once and you’re protected for life is unusual for vaccines. It’s very common that vaccines require repeat dosing or boosting. We have a tetanus shot every ten years.”

Bar-Zeey adds with new variants, it makes sense for booster shots to roll-out.

The first case of COVID-19 in United States was reported 454 days ago on 1/21/2020. Above are the trends for the state of North Carolina (Via Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center).

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