Experts from across the country debate the purpose of booster program

Do boosters help stop infections? They are also meant to keep people out of hospital?


In the meantime, as U.S. heads into the winter months some of the nation's most renowned experts in vaccines and infectious disease doctors are divided on whether the majority of the population requires Covid vaccine booster shots.

Many believe that the main objective should be to avoid severe illness caused by Covid-19. Others, such as the Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease believe that the purpose of vaccination is to prevent not just hospitalization and severe illness, but also less severe forms of the illness as well as infections.

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"There appears to be a bit of a twisted narrative that it doesn't matter if you get infected, get mild or moderate disease, are in bed at home, recover and then get long Covid," Fauci spoke to NBC News, adding that some people believe that "it's all right as long as you don't get hospitalized, which I think is a bit misleading."

For Fauci to be successful, preventing infections is essential to protect individuals from unpleasant, frequently persisting symptoms and disruptions in everyday life.

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"Would you feel comfortable getting infected, being in bed and missing your work for a couple weeks and then feeling fatigued for the next three, four or five weeks?" He asked. "Would you be happy with this? I don't think so."

Fauci said that even though the protection against serious illness is improving across the United States, data emerging from Israel suggest an obvious benefit to avoiding serious illness in people who are over 40.

Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine researcher at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and member of the Food and Drug Administration's advisory panel, doesn't agree with the primary goal of Covid vaccines is to avoid serious illness which can result in hospitalization.

"If that's the goal of this vaccine, that goal has been met so far," he added.

The communication around the reason of the vaccine will be should be improved, Offit said. Offit is dissatisfied with the word "breakthrough infection," used to refer to an abnormal test result in the body of a person who was vaccinated.

"I think the biggest communication error that has been made is using the term 'breakthrough' to define asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic [infection]," he stated. "That's an advantage. The word breakthrough means failure. It's not a failure."

Offit claims that the adults that he observes entering the ICU today aren't there because they've not had their boosters, but because they're not being vaccination-free.

This week the FDA advisory panel on vaccines recommended more doses for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines to help protect against the decline of immunity. This means that millions of Americans are qualified to receive booster shots in the next few days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 11 million people across the United States have already received their doses boosters.



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The evidence that the makers of the vaccine provided to the FDA shows that the added doses can increase the levels of antibodies and are considered not harmful, some experts have concerns about risk of having a heart condition that is rare particularly for men who are younger.

Myocarditis, the condition is a result of an inflammation in the muscle of your heart. It has been linked to the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The condition is uncommon and the majority of patients are in good health and heal better after treatment.

There's not much information about myocarditis in those who have had the third dose of a vaccine within the U.S. In light of this, federal health officials are researching research conducted in Israel to determine whether there's an increase in risk.

The data suggests a low risk for males between the ages of 16 and 19 aged, there have been the 11 cases confirmed of myocarditis of 370,000 who have received a 3rd dose of Pfizer vaccine. This is lower than the number observed after the second dose which saw 82 cases of myocarditis in 7144,000 individuals.

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The Dr. Jake Scott, an infectious disease doctor in the Stanford University Medical Center, has said that a few of the young health professionals know who qualify for a booster shot have expressed concern.

"Many health care workers I know have expressed reluctance to get the third dose because they feel like they're at risk for myocarditis and they don't think they are at risk for complications from Covid since they are fully vaccinated," Scott stated. "I totally understand that."

One of the arguments for boosters to the general population is that they help to reduce the spread of the virus in communities, leading to the virus being less prevalent and lower case numbers.

In the end, Scott said it's unclear whether booster doses will affect any way transmission.

"There isn't enough long-term epidemiologic data yet to really support the use of additional doses of vaccines for the sake of impacting transmission on a population level," the doctor stated.

Scott stated that, while no one doubts that boosters boost antibody levels, he is wondering what the duration of this reaction will last and whether it's enough to impact the prevalence of Covid-19.

Concerning the security of an additional dose is concerned, Scott isn't too worried for those who could gain the greatest from the third dosage such as those who are over 65 or those with weak immune systems.

Infected and vaccined

At present, it is to be seen if those who have been confirmed to have a diagnosis of Covid-19, and who have been fully vaccinated are likely to gain greatly from the third dose. Over 44 million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid in the past, and there are a lot of not yet diagnosed cases.

It's an "unanswered question" that needs to be researched, Fauci said.

He also pointed out that the response of the immune system for people who have been infected and then vaccinated, often referred to as "hybrid immunity", is more powerful than vaccination or infection by itself.

"The strength of the immune response that you get when you get an infection, followed by a vaccination regimen, is much higher than either infection or vaccination alone," Fauci stated. "So you know, I really can't tell yet whether there would be an extra bit of benefit from a boost."