Although the Biden administration is considering giving COVID-19 booster shots available next week, students looking to get one from Duke might have to wait awhile.
Faculty and staff who fulfilled the criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for moderate to severe immunosuppression were able to start scheduling a booster on August 19. Duke began administering these doses on August 23.
“We hope to receive approval to begin offering a booster dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) to healthcare workers from the end of September,” Duke Employee Occupational Health & Wellness wrote in a August 19 email sent to faculty and staff.
Duke’s COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Task Force has yet to announce a timeline for when the entire student body will be able to get vaccinated.
But a third injection might not be needed anytime soon for people who aren’t immunocompromised, according to Cameron Wolfe, infectious disease specialist at Duke Health and associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine.
“I don’t think, for example, that there is a good reason why an otherwise healthy individual who was just vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna two months ago to go back and offer them a third injection, in the absence of another health problem because they’ll have great protection, ”Wolfe said in a Sept. 1 statement. briefing.
Wolfe believes more data is needed on the benefits of stimulation for the general low-risk population.
“A 35-year-old man who has undergone and received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, for example, really has no risk of severe COVID and is not in a frontline work situation in health care,” said Wolfe said. “When we talk about boosting individuals in the community in general, I want to be very clear that for me this is much less important than reaching individuals who are not yet vaccinated at all.”
Since August 18, the CDC and the Department of Health and Social Services were preparing to offer the reminder of COVID-19 to all Americans starting the week of September 20 for those who received their second dose at least eight months previously.
Eligible people include those who were fully immunized earlier, “many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other elderly people.”
They also predicted that “booster shots will likely be needed for people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine” and they “expect more data from J&J in the coming weeks.” Duke administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to about 12% of its total undergraduate and graduate population in April.
The Chronicle has reached out to Gail Shulby, co-chair of Duke University Health System’s Universal Influenza Vaccination and COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Working Groups, for comment. Shulby referred The Chronicle to Sarah Avery, director of the Duke Health News Office. Avery returned The Chronicle to Duke University Communications, which did not respond to a request for comment.
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