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Is COVID-19 booster shot a luxury?

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A woman receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine during a vaccination event, in Key Biscayne, Florida, United States on August 24, 2021. (Marco Bello - Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 20, 2021 - 04:41 AM

LMBC HEALTH – Last month, President Joe Biden and his health advisers announced a plan to give out COVID-19 booster shots to vaccinated Americans amid the threat of the delta variant and the dwindling protection of the vaccines.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday has given its nod on the administration of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 booster shots to people aged 65 and up, and on other vulnerable Americans.

Giving extra doses became one of the focuses of the government. But considering the part of the population that has not received any vaccine dose yet, is dispensing COVID-19 booster a luxury?

Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s not.

“No. Well, the reason is if it turns out that the optimal way to get durable protection for people is to give them the first two doses and then several months later — be that six, seven, eight or whatever months later — you give them a booster, that might actually mature the immune response to have a much more durable response. So I don’t believe it’s necessarily at all a luxury,” Fauci told Chuck Todd of NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director said the booster shots might turn out to become the proper course of medical treatment.

He explained that the emergency situation has kicked off the administration of the vaccines’ first two doses, which has already saved millions of lives.

“That doesn’t mean that’s the end of what this regimen should be,” he said. “And on a week by week, month by month basis, as we gather more data, we may get a better concept of what the proper regimen will be.”

He clarified that the approval of giving out COVID-19 booster does not disregard the priority of getting vaccines in the arms of the still unvaccinated Americans.

“Our highest priority still is getting the unvaccinated vaccinated. And there should be no confusion about that. The highest priority is not getting boosters. We think it’s important to get boosters to people, but the overwhelming highest priority is to vaccinate the unvaccinated,” he said.

In a separate interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, 80-year-old Fauci, eligible for a booster shot, said he will “certainly” get it.

Americans who do not belong to the qualified population for the booster, as announced by FDA, are recommended to wait for the federal health agency’s decision.

“We recommend that people wait until you get to the point where you fall into the category where it’s recommended,” he said, adding that “studies have not been done to look at the safety and the immunogenicity of doing that right now for everyone.”

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