Pfizer pushes for booster; health experts don’t expect a decision soon

Vaccinate PA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pfizer said it planned to meet with top U.S. health officials Monday to talk about a request for federal authorization of a third dose. Health experts say we shouldn’t expect an answer right now and that getting out first and second doses is still the main focus.

Booster shots have been a crucial part of many vaccines.

“What those booster shots do is that it gives your body an extra little dose of the vaccine to say hey, remember this is what you need to protect against,” Dr. Mark Goedecker, Chief Medical Officer of Primary Care at WellSpan Health, said.

Pfizer says early data from its booster sturdy shots people’s antibody levels increase, compared to their second shot.

‘At some point in time, if we see there are a lot of breakthrough infections from people who have been vaccinated six months ago or even longer, then you know, we might have a booster shot but at this point, we really don’t know,” Dr. Mohammad Ali, Infectious Disease Physician at Penn State Holy Spirit Medical Center, said.

“Even though the CDC and the FDA correctly said right now, we don’t feel you need a booster, that doesn’t mean we’re not very very actively following and gathering all this information to see if and when we might need it and if and when we do, we’ll have everything in place to do it,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.

Health systems have learned a lot through the first vaccine rollout and are better prepared.

“This is by far the biggest immunization initiative that this country and the world has ever undertaken,” Goedecker said.

Goedecker says large vaccine clinics were most effective, but there are still some issues that need to be addressed.

“Our vulnerable populations, inner-city, patients who might not have transportation so those continue to be very key that we make sure we address those populations and get them vaccinated too,” Goedecker said.

Health experts agree the focus is on getting people their first and second shots. About 61% of adults in Pennsylvania are fully vaccinated and less than half of Americans are.

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