Doctors Urge COVID-19 Boosters As Holiday Season Approaches KAMR
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR / KCIT) – As the pandemic continues and COVID-19 variants continue to impact various parts of the country, local doctors continue to emphasize the importance of the COVID vaccine- 19, in particular an additional booster dose for those who have already received the initial series.
According to previous reports from MyHighPlains.com, the CDC cleared COVID-19 booster shots for all adults at the end of November, giving those who received their first round of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines the opportunity to receive enhanced protection. six months after receiving their last dose. Those who received an initial dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 may receive a booster dose at least two months after their initial dose.
As of Friday, the Texas State Department of Health Services (DSHS) reported that 69.87 percent of the state’s population was vaccinated, with 3,551,766 people receiving an extra dose.
Rodney Young, a board-certified family physician and regional president of family and community medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, said all booster injections provide a significant level of protection because the antibodies to the initial series of vaccines decrease over time.
âWhen you initially expose the body to proteins on the surface of the virus, or which replicate them, when you initially expose the body to that, it triggers an immune response. Then, with the mRNA vaccines, three or four weeks later, you get a second dose. It’s something the body now recognizes and develops an antibody response to, âYoung said. ââ¦ We still have a good level of protection which is present following the various vaccines, but which is starting to decline. It’s basically like, you know, you’re building a barrier around yourself to try to protect yourself from exposure to the virus in the environment. Over time, the barrier you built starts to wear down and it becomes a bit more penetrable. He may still be able to protect you well, but you may become less sure of that over time. ”
This booster dose, especially with the increase in COVID-19 variants across the country, including the Delta variant and the Omicron variant, helps an individual’s immune system become more vigilant and alert against the variants. Young said. With the third dose, it offers an individual a decreased chance of having a severe case of COVID-19, resulting in hospitalization or death.
Michael Lamanteer, chief medical officer of BSA Health System, said at the latest COVID-19 press conference that boosters are needed, with the emergence of continued evolution of COVID-19 through these variants.
But as doctors urge people who have received their initial vaccination series to receive the booster, they continue to stress that the priority is for people who have not yet received the vaccine to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. About 45% of people aged 5 and older were reported fully vaccinated in Potter and Randall counties, according to the Texas DSHS.
It comes as Potter and Randall counties have seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases over the past month. According to reports from MyHighPlains.com, both counties have seen an increase of more than 4,500 new cases over the past month, with 35 new COVID-19-related deaths also reported.
Young said the numbers are as high as they were earlier in the pandemic and have continued to impact the ability of area hospitals to treat both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients. 19. Upcoming holiday gatherings could spark what Young calls a major assault on the hospital system as variants accelerate across the country.
During the press conference, Lamanteer continued to insist, as he has done many times before, that vaccinations are the key to preventing hospitalizations and serious illness. While there are individuals across the Amarillo region who continue to doubt the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, he hopes the data will help convince people of the vaccine’s safety.
âEighty-five percent of the people we have in the hospital (Wednesday), at around 110, are unvaccinated,â he said. âThey are similar for the country. When you look at hospital patients, these statistics are undeniable. Vaccination prevents serious illnesses. It keeps people from dying from COVID. This avoids hospitalizations and callbacks are essential.
Young also continued to see the “big gap” between those who are anxious to be vaccinated and the booster, and those who continue to refuse the vaccine. Ultimately, Young said acceptance of the vaccine is the most important public health action individuals can take to end the pandemic.
âIt is possible that this new information on this subject will help people be a little more reassured. We have literally hundreds of millions of doses of it that have been administered all over the place. It is incredibly well studied. The idea that, you know, this vaccine is new and unproven just doesn’t hold water, âYoung said. âNow we have millions and millions of doses administered that have been followed for over a year. We are looking back and we have a lot of data on this. By all objective measurements and the most careful examination of any vaccine product in the history of the world, these vaccines work exceptionally well. They offer hope in a time of desperation.
The City of Amarillo Public Health Department is offering booster doses, as well as the initial set of doses for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for eligible people, based on CDC guidelines.
Officials told MyHighPlains.com that vaccine doses are available at the public health department and through the service’s mobile vaccination sites. No appointment should be made to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
For more information on where to get a COVID-19 vaccine through the public health department, visit MyHighPlains.com.