Potential COVID-19 boosters may be focused on immunocompromised population

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Some who are fully vaccinated are now wondering if they need another dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes after North Carolina reported 6% of new infections are in fully vaccinated people.

However with a steady drop in vaccination rates since their peak in April, public health experts want initial doses to be the priority right now, rather than boosters.

Source: NCDHHS

“This virus has no incentive to let up and remains in search of the next vulnerable person to infect,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said during a COVID-19 press briefing Thursday.

At times, those vulnerable people are fully vaccinated but immunocompromised. Right now, there is no recommendation to have those people get another dose.

“There is no reason to believe people who have taken the J and J vaccine are in need of a booster dose of any sort. There are no data to indicate that is the case,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Thursday.

Infectious disease expert Dr. David Wohl with the UNC School of Medicine said it is not something that can be totally ruled out for the future.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a tremendously huge amount of people but I think there may be a subset of the population for whom vaccination in standard doses doesn’t work,” said Wohl.

A meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices discussed a potential third dose for Moderna and Pfizer recipients.

Data presented showed 44-percent of hospitalized breakthrough cases are immunocompromised people.

Studies are finding 33 percent to 50 percent of immunocompromised people who didn’t build up protection after their second dose- did get protection after a third dose.

“Talk of boosters should not dissuade anyone from right now getting their initial vaccine,” urged Wohl.

He believes we need to make sure people are getting baseline protection with the current dosing. So far, none of the vaccine manufacturers are requesting authorization for an additional dose.

“Boosters are like the cherry on top of a sundae. You need the sundae. It’s the penthouse on top of the building. You need the building,” Wohl said.

To get vaccine rates up, the White House announced they were going to be offering FEMA-run mobile vaccine clinics in North Carolina. NCDHHS tells CBS 17 those are going to scheduled in the western part of the state.

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