COVID-19 booster pending approval
Spiking COVID rates and upcoming fall invites concern over who needs a third shot
Last updated 9/17/2021 at 7:31am
While health care providers are now encouraging a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for certain immunocompromised individuals, news of whether or not everyone else will be needing a third booster shot is still developing with a lot of uncertainty.
Washington Department of Health (WADOH) notes that they are administering third shots to immunocompromised individuals eight months after their second shot per recommendation of health officials.
"The additional booster shot increases the immunity and the lasting of it so that you are more covered," said Teresa Cooper of WADOH.
President Joe Biden announced last month that his administration would be planning for a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be available to Americans by Sept. 20, eight months after their second dose in an effort to strengthen immunity to the COVID virus and its variants.
The announcement, however, came prior to any recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration.
At this point in time, the CDC has not yet voted to recommend booster doses. WADOH currently states that people with competent immune systems should not receive a third dose.
For the time being, WADOH and Snohomish Health District (SnoHD) are recommending that people get their initial vaccinations and that they adhere to state regulations on social distancing, sanitizing, and masking.
According to data from the SnoHD, since Jan. 2020, a total of 1,038 COVID cases have been documented in Mill Creek as of Sept. 13. Of which, 166 are either under quarantine or are deceased.
According to the health district, more than 50% of Snohomish County's population are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. While vaccinations can help slow the spread and mutation of the virus, it is not 100% effective in protecting both the unvaccinated and vaccinated.
"Science continues to show vaccines are the best tool we have to protect our communities and slow the spread of COVID-19," said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH in a news release last month.
While vaccinations are likely to increase protection against COVID, people who are immunocompromised are still encouraged to socially distance, avoid crowds, and avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
"The best plan for now is just to monitor and wait," said SnoHD Public & Government Affairs manager Heather Thomas.
"We're waiting for updated data on what types of vaccines and what certain demographics of people might need boosters, so stay tuned on that part," she said.
"In the meantime just keep the same precaution measures that people have been taking so far."
The FDA will meet on Friday, Sept. 17, to fully review the data on Pfizer vaccines and its study on booster shots. Data for booster shots on Moderna will likely be under study later in the fall, according to the Associated Press.
Data for boosters on Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine will likely not be available for several months, since it was not approved until late February, according to WADOH.
US health officials assure that the decision is still pending the approval of these health agencies.
Updated info on Snohomish county COVID cases and vaccination rates: https://bit.ly/2YUu1JG