Doctors say more research is needed before a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is necessary

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 4:10 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Pfizer said they are prepared and ready to move forward with a booster shot for their COVID-19 vaccine.

But the FDA and CDC say, not so fast. WTOC talked with a Savannah doctor about what this means and are hearing from vaccinated community members about what they think.

The Sueirro family has been vaccinated for months and say it’s made a huge difference in their livelihood.

“I felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Because we are older having that comfort of knowing we were protected now,” said Lynda Sueirro.

The Sueirro’s got their shots in February after watching their son and his wife go through Pfizer’s trial. He says the concern is over how protective it is.

“It’s definitely in the back of my mind. And I worry more so for my wife who got the vaccine in the original trial so she’s been vaccinated for going on seven months now. For myself it’s only been about four so I don’t worry too much,” said Matt Sueirro.

While they all got their first two shots, they say they would be willing to get a third with a booster if recommended.

“The data that I find important is that in the past couple of weeks 98% of the people who have died from COVID have been unvaccinated. I am willing to take my risk with what I’ve got and whatever Pfizer comes up with a booster. I believe that they will address it and I will be safe,” said Mike Sueirro.

While those who have gotten Pfizer’s vaccine say they’d take a booster if given the opportunity, doctors say more research is needed.

“While Pfizer may believe that it’s safe and effective the question remains of is it truly needed right now for a booster shot. And right now the answer from the FDA and the CDC is that it is probably too soon to make that call. What we need is a combination of what they have provided which is data around safety and effectiveness but also showing that there is a need,” said Dr. Stephen Thacker, Memorial Health Associate Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Thacker says it appears that at a year is when protection might start decreasing, but that need still hasn’t been proven. He says there are clinical trials happening right now, but those who are fully vaccinated should rest easy.

“We’ll learn more moving forward, but right now the answer is that you are protected and if you do have a heightened sense of concern about your well being you can still use masking and social distancing the things we know that kept you protected pre vaccine,” said Dr. Thacker.

Dr. Thacker says a booster will likely be needed, but it’s determining when that is key.

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