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Get Your Arm Ready Again.

This week the CDC will recommend that fully vaccinated people should get a routine booster shot, 8 months after their second mRNA dose.  It should be the same mRNA vaccine they received previously.  The FDA needs to approve this recommendation - which was always a possibility, but now will be a reality.  The mRNA vaccine efficacy was still high 6 months after vaccination, but that was before the current surge in the delta variant in the observed population.  Scientists have been examining both the power of the antibodies against the delta variant in the lab and also watching breakthrough cases that have occurred since the delta virus became the dominant virus spreading rapidly in the US.  It is hard to determine exactly when a booster might be needed for any vaccine and there has only been several months of data to analyze, but this week the CDC/NIH thinks it is best to start planning for it. 

During the last 4-6 weeks the scientific community experts were starting to discuss the real possibility of a booster shot before or at a year, but said they didn't have enough data yet to make a decision.  But then they observed the surge across the country, the recent breakthrough cases, and the increased number of severe breakthrough cases in the elderly who were vaccinated in Israel in Jan and Feb. Israel's vaccination rate is high, they used an mRNA vaccine for most of the vaccinations, and they have a robust government health system for following the cases. But we still need to see peer reviewed data from them. Current  vaccine efficacy had fallen to 55% against severe disease in fully vaccinated people in their series.  The articles say that the same trend was "being seen in several other countries."  This waning protection can occur because of the slow decline in antibody titers or a virus variant that spreads more aggressively or a combination of both.   Read Below

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The articles I read said the Israel data was reviewed by two independent vaccinologists, Dr. Peter Hotez from Baylor and Dr. Jesse L. Goodman, at Georgetown (formerly from the FDA), who agree with the recommendations  - i.e. start planning for a booster shot 8 months after the second vaccine dose (beginning in Mid-September). Israel is currently giving booster shots to people over 50, and Germany and France plan to begin next month.  The UK hasn't decided on a starting date.  The Boosters will start with Health Care Workers, Nursing Home Patients, Emergency Workers and then the elderly.  Pfizer submitted an addendum to their vaccination protocol to the FDA for approval, and Moderna will follow.

This recommendation is NOT for the immune deficient patients, they are all eligible for their 3rd dose now - hoping that they will get a good antibody response this time. 

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