LUBBOCK, Texas — It’s been less than a month since the Food and Drug Administration approved extra doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who are immunocompromised, and new Centers for Disease Control data shows that nearly a million booster shots have already been given out across the country to that vulnerable population.
“It’s not like star trek where you put the shields up and no bullets can get to you. It’s not like that at all,” said Chief Medical Officer for Covenant, Dr. Craig Rhyne.
But the debate around booster shots continuing as Lubbock still sits at a close to a 50 percent vaccination rate.
“The theory behind the booster – the additional, third shot of the vaccine – is to re-stimulate the body to go ahead a produce more of those natural antibodies against a virus particle,” said Rhyne.
But some wonder why a booster shot is needed if the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are 95 percent effective against the virus.
According to doctors at Covenant, while the vaccine does provide a high level of protection, it begins to fade over time.
“So the thing that we are looking at now is when is that timing. [After] six to seven months we see that it starts to drop off, but when does that drop off actually mean my risk starts going back up?” said Regional Pharmacy Director for Covenant Health, Wes Wells.
The FDA approved booster shots for those with weakened immune systems, but the Biden Administration recommends everyone get a booster eight months after their second dose. Although, that plan is still subject to FDA and CDC approval.
Because the booster would likely be just another dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, there are also likely similar side effects. But experts saying it’s a small price to pay.
“The vaccines produce a far more robust antibody response than the actual native infection does,” said Rhyne.
And healthcare professionals said if you want to stay healthy and stop the spread, start with getting vaccinated.
“Almost all the people in the hospital are unvaccinated individuals. Nobody is holding that against them, nobody is blaming them for that decision, but we are really fatigued we are really emotionally drawn out by the fact that we are seeing so many younger people now be affected and, honestly, dying from this. This disease that is entirely preventable,” said Rhyne.
So far, it is only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that are available as booster shots.
If you are looking to get a vaccine the Lubbock Health Department hosts pop-up vaccine clinics every week. Find their locations here.