Local doctor on COVID-19 booster shots

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Last week, U.S. health officials recommended boosters for some with weakened immune systems and now it’s looking like soon we all will be eligible for another shot.

Dr. Ann Falsey with URMC said it could take effect as early as mid-September.

“I don’t want the general public to panic and be storming their local Walgreens for their booster shot. The data is that the vaccines all of them are still very good, not perfect but very good for severe disease,” Falsey said.

She said research is showing a booster after 6 to 8 months gives even more protection than the original series.

“It comes from the studies where we’ve looked at tolerability, you know most of the studies for boosting have been done has been from the 5,7 to 8-month range,” Falsey said.

She said the rollout would most likely happen like it did when everyone got their original shots, starting with the health care workers, nursing home residents and the elderly.

“So if you were vaccinated in December and January you are coming up to 8 to 9 months and it may be time,” Falsey said. “We think it’s safe to give a booster at this point."

She said they are still studying whether you can mix and match shots.

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing data for the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“That doesn’t mean if you got J&J you couldn’t get a dose of Pfizer or Moderna. Does that mean you need two doses, that study has not been done but I suppose that would act like a booster and you probably don’t need a complete immunization series,” Falsey said.

She said as far as those worried about a booster, to take a deep breath and think about it as just an added layer.

“The pandemic is spiraling out of control again so part of the public health decision and treatment evaluation to cut down on the mildly ill people who have been vaccinated."

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said the county is full prepared to help with the booster dose once they are available to the general population and anyone who wants one will have full access.