The FDA authorized a second booster shot for older Americans Tuesday, but unlike the first booster, some are hesitant to get the added protection.
The approval allows anyone 50 and older, and those with compromised immune systems as young as 12, to get another booster if it’s been at least four months since their first one.
UCSF’s Dr. Peter Chin Hong said the ideal time for this second booster would be in the middle of a surge, however, “No one can predict what will happen around the time immunity may wane, so you want to protect the most vulnerable in society.”
And while cases are declining in the U.S., the rate of decline has slowed. The highly contagious BA.2 variant is now the dominant strain accounting for 55% of new cases – up 20% in one week.
Still, nationwide boosters are a tough sell. Of the 217 million people fully vaccinated, fewer than half- have the extra shot.
“Think of this fourth shot, the second booster, as it’s really helping bring you back to the same levels that you had to protect against omicron,” said Dr. Kavita Patel.
In Contra Costa County, they’re bracing for a run on the second booster, which will be available at all previous vaccination sites starting Wednesday.
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“Walk-in is available but given the increase in demand it’ll be better to get an appointment for now,” said Supervisor John Gioia.
All of this while researchers work feverishly to put an end to the need for all these shots.
“So that universal COVID vaccine will not be one that you have to get every six months or so for the most vulnerable,” said Chin-Hong. “You can get it once or twice and that’s it.”