'Get the booster': Experts warn elderly, immunocompromised most at risk this cold and flu season

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Friday, October 28, 2022
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Experts are warning of an alarmingly low percentage of people getting the new COVID-19 booster shot -- with the biggest concern being older adults.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Thanksgiving is just four weeks away and experts are warning of an alarmingly low percentage of people getting the new COVID-19 booster shot -- with the biggest concern being older adults.

"The time to boost is now before the winter holidays are upon us," said Dr. Jeanne Noble. She heads up the COVID emergency response team at UCSF.

"Boosting is going to keep the medically fragile the oldest of the old in our population out of the hospital," said Dr. Noble

But, booster numbers are lagging big time. In San Francisco, just 17% of those eligible have got the latest booster -- compared to 64% who got the first booster.

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"We have a lot of immunity out there among our younger people and people who are not as threatened by COVID. Those are not the people I'm worried about," said Noble. "It's the people who are in nursing homes, who are older, who are severely immuno-compromised."

More than 70% of people over the age of 65, across the nation, got the first booster, but infectious diseases expert Dr. Monica Gandhi warns: "But when did they receive that first booster or third shot? Probably around January of 2021. That means it's been a full 10 months so absolutely you should get your booster."

Gandhi noted the ideal time to get the newest booster is four months after your last shot, or four months after getting COVID-19.

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"If you got infected in August, then I would again calculate those four months and get this booster in December because that's when you maximize you're immune response," said Dr. Gandhi.

And if you are oldr and you do get COVID, Dr. Gandhi has a clear message.

"Someone who is 65 and older especially those comorbidities, if you get COVID during these holidays I would go ahead and ask for Paxlovid because Paxlovid is an antiviral that brings down the risk even more."

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