NEW YORK (PIX11) — The FDA is looking at the long game when it comes to COVID-19, considering whether continued boosters or a yearly vaccine are the best way to fight the virus.
The CDC is now recommending a fourth shot for immunocompromised people or those 50 years and older. Research shows a person who was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 was 80% protected from death or needing a ventilator during the last wave of infection. Having a booster shot increased that protection to 94%.
While cases of the BA.2 subvariant are on the rise, hospitals are not seeing a surge in seriously sick patients. “I would absolutely credit the low mortality and hospitalizations that we’re seeing right now to the high percentage of vaccinated patients, especially in our population in this geographical region, and also given the natural immunity that happened with the coronavirus variants and the decreased severity of variants and we’re seeing so far,” said Northwell Health emergency medicine physician Nyle Khan.
Khan said the reality is COVID-19 is still present, as much as people want to move on with their daily lives. With bursts of new variants, doctors recommend a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, an annual shot may be on the horizon.
“We do anticipate there will be like a seasonal COVID wave, seasonal flu wave, as there always has been any kind of virus,” Khan said. “I foresee that for now there will be recommended COVID shots yearly at least as well as your yearly flu shot. I know some companies right now are trying to create a combined flu and COVID vaccine.”