Since the first month of the vaccine rollout, there have been nearly weekly articles about the need for a vaccine booster. Scientists did not know how long the vaccine protection would last, but we needed to be ready early as this Fall for booster shots.
No Need for Booster
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/no-evidence-yet-suggest-covid-vaccine-booster-needed-cdc-group-n1272197. The CDC stated last week that there is no evidence to suggest a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is needed. They will continue to monitor the situation and keep us advised.
What happened? All this constant barrage of opinion pieces told us to be prepared for a vaccine booster shot because no one knows how long the initial COVID-19 vaccines will protect people.
Periodically, an article would appear that said the protection power of a vaccine was good for a few months, then six months, then maybe a year. After that, it was mostly guessing, with a few minor evidentiary pieces of immune system measurement over time.
There is no set of specifications of waning T Cell levels, antibody levels, reinfection rates, or other measures that state when we reach this point, a booster shot should be evaluated and tested. Nothing, zero, nil, zip, nada on when a booster shot might be required to continue vaccine protection levels.
Is this a ploy to get more people vaccinated since the rate of vaccination is decreasing? It might be. Hey, vaccines are working so well that there is no need for a booster next year. Get your vaccine now and be protected for years to come. I can see that angle. I can also see the angle that no one knows.
https://www.goodrx.com/blog/what-to-know-about-covid-19-booster-vaccine/. Some medical researchers are using seasonal influenza as a benchmark for coronavirus. Yes, people do not have the flu right now, but the flu season is coming, and get a vaccination now to lessen your chances of catching the flu. This logic is being bandied about for coronavirus. They believe that getting a booster shot will reduce the reinfection during the next surge when the vaccine protection runs out.
Fine, tell me when the vaccine runs out. No one knows. But it is not too early to be planning for it.
What if the current vaccines last five years? Do you need a booster after four years, five years, or maybe even six years? Again, no one knows. What will the side effects be from the third dose of a vaccine? Will other anti-viral drugs work well as a preventive in case of a new surge? What about the other one-hundred-plus COVID-19 vaccines being developed in the world? Would one or more of those offer protections against COVID-19 for ten or twenty years?
Pfizer and Moderna have already started clinical trials giving people a third dose of their vaccine to evaluate side effects. The third dose has been tweaked to offer additional protection against the latest variants that appear to be ravaging communities worldwide. Would the Johnson & Johnson single dose be an adequate booster shot for those vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines? Would even two doses of the J&J vaccine offer extended protection without the need for a booster?
There are many unanswered questions and no critical lines in the sand about when a booster shot is needed. It is all speculation. There is no official policy guidance set to assist any governmental or corporate entities with planning and development.
Current Vaccination Status
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations?country=USA. Over 180 million Americans have the first vaccine dose (55%). Add another ten percent for those who survived the virus, and the initial protection level rises to 65%. Almost 155 million Americans have had two COVID-19 vaccine doses (47+%).
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/. Worldwide, the trend of new cases of COVID-19 has stabilized in the 365-376-thousand daily cases reported. The trend might be moving upward again after two weeks of bottoming out. Under 8,000 daily deaths attributable to COVID-19 are being seen worldwide today. That trend line is still moving downward.
The new cases of COVID-19 are at the lowest levels since the end of March 2020 and are trending in the 13,000-14,000 reports daily. Daily deaths from coronavirus are under 300, and the trend is continuing downward. It was the last week of March 2020 when the number of daily deaths attributable to COVID-19 was under 300 a day.
Texas Hospitalizations from COVID-19
https://txdshs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/0d8bdf9be927459d9cb11b9eaef6101f. I live in Texas and follow the state’s coronavirus statistics closely. There are 1,502 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, offering nearly 66,000 fully staffed hospital beds and another almost 11,000 hospitals beds that can be used immediately. Eight-hundred and fifty-two ICU beds are available for COVID-19 patients if needed, along with nearly 8,000 ventilators.
In Harris County (Houston area), the hospital data shows similar results to the rest of Texas. https://www.tmc.edu/coronavirus-updates/effective-reproduction-rate-for-harris-county/. The Effective Reproduction Rate is currently at 0.79 and has been under 1.0 for 17 days. When the ERR is below 1.0, the infection rate is shrinking.
The Testing Positive for COVID-19 rate is 2.4% and has been below 5% for over three months. The Hospital system considers a 5% or less TP rate for two weeks to mean that community infections are under control.
Is there a need for a booster? Probably not. Will there be a need for a COVID-19 booster shot? Probably, maybe, maybe not; who knows for sure? We need a definitive guideline that states, when this happens, we need booster shots. Until that line in the sand is crossed, booster shots remain in inventory.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com