Pfizer-BioNTech booster doses successfully got the FDA and CDC approval, opening the doors for the third dose of the American citizens. But experts believe that booster doses cannot change the scenario that much. It is so because a large portion of the American population is still unvaccinated.
Low Vaccination Rates Are A Cause Of Serious Concern
As much as one-third of the American population did not receive their vaccine doses. This portion of the population accounts for 70 million people. They are the most vulnerable people now as the highly contagious Delta variant is also around.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, believes that the unvaccinated are most vulnerable.
The FDA last week permitted booster shots to the elderly above 65 and adults at higher risk of infection. Citizens above 65 are eligible for booster shots. Apart from this, immunocompromised people are also allowed to take the third dose.
On Friday morning, Dr. Walensky, CDC director, gives a green flag to booster doses for the elderly and some adults. Dr. Walensky says that Booster doses will be available for adults working in high-risk environments.
She added that people aged 18-49 having underlying medical conditions; may get booster doses considering their benefits and risks.
Walensky stresses that apart from providing booster doses, the United States administration must also focus on increasing the vaccination rates for the initial vaccine doses.
Walensky also said,” it is clear that boosting the doses cannot bring us out of the pandemic.”
The CDC data shows that 55% of the American population is vaccinated so far. And 75% of eligible citizens took at least one of their doses.
Various studies, including the CNN report, show that Covid-19 death rates are more than four times higher in states with the lowest vaccination rates.
Dr. Walensky’s decision comes in support of the FDA recommendations. FDA approved Pfizer booster dose for emergency use. The agency recommends booster doses for people aged 65 and older and people at high risk of infection.
Walensky gave the statement saying, ” as CDC director, I will decide the course of our actions for the betterment. We sometimes have to study imperfect data and come up with a concrete solution. Our decision is in favor of the optimized health of our citizens.” She added that the question was never about yes or no, it was about now or later.
With the CDC announcement on Friday, many health care locations are now opening for appointments for booster doses. CVS health Friday announcement said that as many as 6,000 locations are already open for third dose appointments.
Citizens who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson are currently not eligible for the Pfizer booster doses. Recipients who got their second Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shots at least six months back are eligible for the booster dose.
Walensky said, ” Americans can now get their third dose, but only elderly above 65, adults at higher risk of severe illness, and people with underlying health conditions can be allowed to do so for now.”
CVS said that all the citizens choosing to get their third shot are required to self attest their eligibility according to the advisory of the FDA and CDC.