A COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is on the way and we're answering your questions

Posted at 10:07 AM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 10:07:09-04

CLEVELAND — This week health officials announced their plans for a COVID-19 booster shot for all Americans to offer better protection against COVID-19 amid the surging delta variant. This comes just days after the CDC and FDA approved a third shot for immunocompromised individuals.

But with a third shot comes a lot of questions and concerns from the vaccinated population. News 5 wanted to get those questions answered. We took your concerns to University Hospitals' Rainbow Babies and Children.

Dr. Claudia Hoyen, an infectious disease specialist with UH, provided insight into the booster and what the roll out of the third shot may look like.

The first question: What evidence suggests fully vaccinated people need a booster?

Data from the New York State Health Department, Mayo Clinic and CDC show the vaccine's effectiveness wanes over time.
Pfizer, one of the three vaccines approved in the U.S., released research earlier this summer suggesting similar evidence. The FDA has had the chance to review that and verify.

"I think that the government just wanted to be sure that they had a chance to review the data instead of the drug company just saying, 'Hey, you're all going to need a booster.' They wanted to be sure that it went through the proper channels," Hoyen said.

Second, if we need a third dose, does this mean I'm no longer safe after just two doses?

"If you've been vaccinated, you're protected. It's just really what is that level of protection?," she said. "We think that probably somewhere between six and eight months is a time where we might see more people have symptomatic infections."

How will the boosters roll out?

"My guess is there might be some breakdown, kind of how it rolled out initially - where we had people in nursing homes and health care providers. There might be some staggering of that initially," Hoyen predicted."Again, it's going to be very much different than it was in the spring and hopefully a little more routine and not such a big deal about having to wait in line with hundreds of other people."

What about those who opted for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine? Is there a booster for that population?

Hoyen said they're still awaiting data from clinical trials but added it'll most likely be added down the road.

"Since they got started later, those people are probably going to be protected for a little bit longer, and so it'll probably follow suit," she said.

If you still have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, contact your physician.

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