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COVID-19 booster shots: What you need to know

Covid Vaccine Booster Shot
Posted at 9:30 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 00:30:03-04

PHOENIX — Top US Health Officials are discussing getting COVID booster shots ready after Pfizer requested authorization for a third dose of its vaccine.

The company met with the FDA Monday, after announcing a booster shot will be needed in the next 12 months.

According to the latest data from TGen, which has been sequencing test samples in the state, about 30% of the cases in Arizona over the past month have been Delta. And the variant made up close to 45% of cases sequenced in just the last couple of weeks.

"Definitely it is more contagious than the original version that we saw of COVID. The current vaccines that we have right now definitely are effective, now are they going to be 100% effective against you actually getting COVID," said Dr. Janice Johnston, the Chief Medical Officer with Redirect Health.

Dr. Johnston said there are a few reasons COVID booster shots may be necessary. The first is to protect you from the Delta variant.

"If our current vaccine doesn't work well against this variant or a new variant that may come down the road, that's a reason for a booster," said Dr. Johnston.

The second reason --the immunity you got from the vaccine starts to wane over time.

"The third reason is that some people just don't mount enough of an immune reaction to getting a vaccine. So think about people who have some sort --they are immuno-suppressed for some reason," said Dr. Johnston.

Thursday, the CDC and FDA released a joint statement saying Americans who've been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time, including "people who are not vaccinated remain at risk. Virtually all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among those who are unvaccinated."

"FDA, CDC, and NIH are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary. This process takes into account laboratory data, clinical trial data, and cohort data – which can include data from specific pharmaceutical companies, but does not rely on those data exclusively. We continue to review any new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed. We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed."

"What the scientists are doing is they're studying the effects of what happens over time and so they're going to be ready when that time if it does come, that we're ready and we're not scrambling the last minute," said Dr. Johnston.

The booster shot could be identical to the vaccine you already got or it could have tweaks to reflect the new variant.

The most important message from health experts at this time is a push for everyone to get vaccinated.

The mission of ABC15's Health Insider series is to dive deeper into the things impacting your health and the health of those around you. We're going in-depth with expert advice from people who know it, see it every day in their work and study it. Have a story idea? Contact the team at HealthInsider@abc15.com.