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WHO, CDC looking into whether a vaccine booster is needed to fight against Delta variant

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 4:29 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Some infectious disease experts are weighing whether a booster shot is needed for Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

At issue is concern over the more contagious Delta variant of the virus. Last week a CDC working group said there’s no evidence yet to show that a booster shot is needed for any of the vaccines.

COVID-19 Delta variant fuels a surge in new infections globally, causing concern as it is considered 60 percent more contagious than the most dominate strain. Even countries with high vaccination rates, such as the U.K., are seeing a rise of new infections.

This has many people paying attention this week as we approach the 4th of July holiday especially as Georgia has low vaccination numbers with only 38 percent of the state fully vaccinated.

Heather Sueirro is fully vaccinated and is actually one of the first people who got her Pfizer shot back in October as a participant in the vaccine trial.

“I certainly did not want to get coronavirus. I was very cautious like most people I was you know mask all the time, washing my hands religiously and for the most part I still am, but I just felt like let me take one for the team I don’t know if we have a lot of representation for the COVID trial and I thought that it would be just a smart move for me to go in an test it out,” said Sueirro.

She got the vaccine about eight months ago and now wonders if she needs a booster shot. While researchers tell us they’re still working on the booster trials, she’s hopeful she can join those too.

“I would absolutely sign up to get the booster. As a matter of fact I hope that I’m one of the first people in line to get the booster because I’ve been one of the first people to get the COVID vaccine. That would be great!”

One of her concerns is the Delta variant. It’s more infectious and on the rise across the country even making its way here to Georgia.

“A key example that I think really drives it home to how much of a risk we are here in Georgia is that in Missouri one of their key cities where they are having an outbreak. The amount of folks that were vaccinated was about 32 percent and we’re not much higher and they have seen a 210 percent increase in the number of their cases since June first likely related to this new variant,” said Dr. Stephen Thacker, Pediatric Infectious Disease at Memorial Health.

Dr. Thacker says preliminary data out of the UK shows the MRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna are highly effective after two doses against this new variant. He says being fully vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, especially this holiday weekend.

“It is a potential risk with a tourist destination like we have. That’s why its so important for Chatham County to continue to lead the way for the state and how many of our community are vaccinated and protected. But yeah it’s a risk that comes up with the upcoming week of travel for July the 4th, but honestly the way communities protect themselves even if they are a tourist destination is to have that community as vaccinated as it can be,” said Dr. Thacker.

Heather says while she waits to learn more about a vaccine booster, she will follow the best public health advice and hopes others get their vaccine to prevent further variants.

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