Updated: April 08, 2022 06:22 PM
Created: April 08, 2022 03:57 PM
(ABC 6 News) - The announcement of a second COVID-19 booster for Americans over 50 caused confusion – is now the best time to get another shot, as Omicron numbers appear to wane?
Mayo Clinic wants to set the record straight.
Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, thinks some of that confusion came from good intentions – “a permissive recommendation in the interest of trying to get ahead of the next surge.”
“Once the surge starts, you can’t immunize 300 billion people inside of a day, or a week, or even a month, very likely,” he said.
Multiple variants – each more transmissible than the last, with the BA2 variant spreading two to three times as easily as the original Wuhan COVID strain,
“Let me make the analogy – I could look up in the sky, and I could tell you the exact GPS coordinates of that jet,” he added. “By the time I turn to you and verbally relay those coordinates, that airplane is no longer at that coordinate, and it’s miles away.”
And the next surge (BA.2) has already begun around the globe in the United Kingdom, Northeastern U.S. (especially New York) as vaccine and booster immunity wanes.
Poland admitted that an Israeli study concluded that the benefit of a second COVID booster was fractional, bringing healthy adults from a 0.1 percent risk of COVID death to 0.03 percent. While that number would be very visible in a large population, the average person won’t feel any difference.
However, the booster does increase antibody levels for 4-12 weeks before they begin to wane again.
Poland concluded that as booster benefits are real, but short-lived, older adults especially should consult with their doctors to decide when to “pull the trigger.” An older adult in a high-transmission situation, who plans to travel, or has other health risks may want to boost now.
Someone healthy and in a low-transmission area who masks consistently could “watch closely and hold.”
“My guess is, we’ll all be getting the booster, it’s just a question of when we get it to have the maximum benefit,” he said.
Here are more vaccine takeaways from Poland:
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