Virologist says 2nd COVID booster shot for everyone could be advised in the fall

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Doctor says 2nd booster for everyone could be advised next fall
A Gladstone Institutes virologist predicts a second coronavirus booster shot will be recommended for everyone come this fall.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tuesday, the FDA authorized a second booster for people 50 and older and those 12 and older who are immunocompromised.

Contra Costa County also just announced they will begin to offer a second booster to people who are 50 and older or immunocompromised beginning Wednesday, March 30.

This comes as cases of omicron's sub-variant BA.2 increase across the country.

"The issue is that we have this durable immunity in the background. What we are lacking against these omicron viruses, BA.1 and BA.2 is protection from infection. This booster will give us some protection from infection, and that is important for people who don't have that of a vigorous immune system," said Dr. Warner C. Greene, Senior Investigator for the Gladstone Institutes.

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Data from Israel suggests that a second booster for adults 60 to 100 years old lowered their risk of hospitalization and death.

"There is about a 40-day period if you've had the fourth vaccination, you have about a 3-fold less chance of dying of COVID," said Dr. Greene.

Dr. Warner Greene has been a virologist for more than 30 years. He doesn't necessarily recommend a second booster if you are young and already had three shots, but knows the option could be there soon for the general public.

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"Younger people, their immune system is very robust, so they are probably in less need of the fourth booster than the older population," said Greene and added, "Moderna asked that it would be approved for everyone, Pfizer asked for people 65 and older and with medical conditions. I suspect that everyone will be advised to get a fourth booster sometime in the fall."

Dr. Greene said it was interesting that the FDA authorized a second booster without consulting its committee of independent vaccine experts. Yet, he says the option is still safe.

What can you do if you want to get in line to get a second booster?

California's MyTurn website has an option to make an appointment to get a second booster if you are immunocompromised. After today's FDA's authorization, there could be another option allowing those 50 and older to make an appointment through the states site, but it hasn't been updated yet.

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"I would suggest calling ahead of time just to ensure that location has the availability of the booster and appointments etc. Not all pharmacies may be offering it," said Deepak Sisodiya, Administrator Director of Pharmacy services at Stanford Health Care.

Sisodiya recommends to go through your medical provider.

"I think we are caught in between the two worlds. Maybe not having the plethora of vaccination sites we previously had, (my) suggestion would be to contact your medical providers to see where you can get the vaccine," said Sisodiya.

Sisodiya said pharmaceuticals will be key moving forward.

"Oral treatment, we have the Paxlovid. The Pfizer drug is and Molnupiravir Merk as well are the two agents that are currently available. We have to measure based on what type of COVID strains are being felt in a geographic area. I insert that because Paxlovid could be more favorable against BA.2 strain," said Sisodiya.

If you are immunocompromised or 50 and older and want to get a second booster, you would need to wait at least four months after your first booster.