Midstate doctor breaks down details behind booster shots for vaccinated people

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A booster shot could be on the way for vaccinated Americans.

Health officials are expected to recommend that people get a third shot eight months after their second dose. This would apply to anyone who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

UPMC Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. John D. Goldman says the health community was always expecting that a booster shot could be necessary. “The reason you need a booster is the vaccines work, and we want to keep them working,” Goldman said.

Dr. Goldman and many other health workers are already at or near the eight-month mark. “If I were offered a booster shot today I would take it, but I’m not going to worry if I can’t get it for a couple months,” Goldman said.

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He says that’s because vaccines are still proving to be very effective at keeping people from dying or being hospitalized due to COVID. The data seems to be showing that the protection gradually fades with time.

“We’re all going to eventually need a booster shot, but I think at this point even people who are 6 or 8 months out are still very protected,” Goldman said.

Immunocompromised people are already able to get their booster shots. The rollout for everyone else could start as soon as next month.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra says the country is ready for the rollout. “Whether its the first or the second or potentially something in the future on a booster we want you to know that it’s going to be available,” Becerra said.

The logistics of administering the new vaccine wave haven’t quite been figured out yet.

“My guess is you’ll be able to get it at your local CVS. My guess is you’ll be able to get it in drive-through clinics. And I think our goal will be to get it to as many people as we can quickly,” Goldman said.

While health leaders focus on the boosters, they aren’t forgetting about those that haven’t even gotten their first dose. “The most important thing is to get a shot. If right now, people who are not vaccinated or choosing not to get vaccinated, are choosing to get covid,” Goldman said.

Dr. Goldman says it’s possible that people may get stronger side effects from the booster than they had with their first two doses. He cautions that’s normal and expected because of how the immune system works.

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