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The COVID-19 booster: Who's behind it, what Colorado officials are saying and why it's recommended

Booster recommended for immunocompromised, elderly
Johnson & Johnson says it's identified a 'lead candidate' for COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 7:27 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 00:59:48-04

AURORA, Colo. — As cases of the delta variant surge, the Biden administration and the nation’s top health officials appear poised to recommend a booster to most Americans, a shot patients would get roughly eight months after being fully vaccinated.

Among those already vaccinated, there seems to be at least some willingness to get a third shot.

“I would absolutely get a booster if it’s recommended,” Kara Pollack said.

“My siblings are really young, so yeah, I definitely would if it was going to be the safest option for me and my environment,” Haylee Sheffler said.

Neid says the booster is essentially just another dose.

“It’s just simply a third shot or a second shot of the J&J. It’s the same vaccine." said Dr. James Neid, director of infectious disease at the Medical Center of Aurora. “The idea here is that, over time, immunity to the coronavirus will diminish even in the fully vaccinated,”

The immunocompromised and elderly would likely be at the top of the list for a booster, which could be readily available by mid to late September.

“If you’re high risk to begin with, you’re probably most likely to be at the front of the line to have a booster recommendation,” Neid said.

Right now, Colorado is already advising vaccination providers across the state to offer an additional dose of the Pfizer-Biontech or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to Coloradans considered moderately to severely immunocompromised.

“The state has enough vaccine supply for providers to provide eligible Coloradans with a third dose,” a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said.

The Biden administration is encouraging the FDA to expediently review and approve a booster. But Neid warns that the messaging right now should still largely focus around getting the unvaccinated vaccinated; the booster is secondary to him.

“Right now on the ground, the overwhelming number of hospitalized cases are in the unvaccinated,” Neid said.

In fact, 90% of new hospitalizations at he Medical Center of Aurora are unvaccinated individuals.

“It’s still getting the unvaccinated to get a shot in the arm,” Neid said. “That’s the way this pandemic comes under control.”