Vaccine Guru Sara
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FroCurrently, the CDC has recommended and the FDA has authorized booster shots for immuno-compromised people, about three percent of the U.S. population. This includes people who have been receiving active cancer treatments, received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system, received a stem cell translator within the last two years, moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency, advanced HIV infection, or active treatment with medicines that may suppress your immune response. For further details, please read the CDC website concerning boosters and check with your doctor.
What about the rest of us who receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine? According to the CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenksy and FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, both organizations will likely approve booster shots for some or all Americans over the age of 18 by the week of September 20th. What they are recommending is that people get their boosters shots eight months after their second dose, as efficacy against the Delta variant wanes after that time. If you got your second shot in February, then your third shot will be in October.
Can we get the shot earlier than 8 months? Can I get a Moderna shot if I got the Pfizer shot the first time? What if I got the Johnson & Johnson? Do I get a booster of another Johnson & Johnson or do I get an mRNA vaccine? Please check the CDC website (scroll to the FAQ section at the bottom) for all of your questions concerning the boosters. If you have any more questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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While protection against the more severe version of Covid-19 remains high in the 6 months after your second dose, there is a marked decline in efficacy over time. With the continued emergence of new and more transmissible variants and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases per day, Pfizer believes that their emergency authorization should be broadened by August, saying that a third dose "may be beneficial within 6 to 12 months following the second dose to maintain highest levels of protection." Dr. Fauci said that boosters may not be necessary for everyone at this time, but might be more helpful for those over a certain age and immunocompromised persons.
With a 47.5% increase in cases from the previous week and 43 states seeing an increase in cases, hospitalizations are rising and so will the deaths, the depressing lagging indicator. More than 99% of deaths are now among people who have not been vaccinated according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a grim reminder that we must all do our part to vaccinate as many in our community as we can.
Side note: The FDA added a warning label to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine following a report linking it to 100 cases of the rare Guillain-Barre syndrome. That's not great for getting people who are hesitant about vaccines to want to take the shot, but it's putting it all out there so people can decide what is worse - the minuscule probability of getting a rare side effect or getting a disease that has killed more than 600,000 Americans in less than 2 years.
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Meet Abhinav. He's one of the the youngest participants in the world to take part in a Covid-19 vaccine trial for Pfizer. This brave boy took his vaccine like a hero so the rest of us could feel safer vaccinating our own kids.
Update on 5/11: On Monday May 10th, the FDA approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 12 and older. Now we must wait for the CDC Director to give final approval. As soon as CVS, HEB, Walgreens, and other providers update their systems, let the Pfizer Gold Rush begin.
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What Pfizer has said: Their Covid-19 vaccine will protect kids 12 years and older, and it is 100% effective in protecting against symptomatic Covid. These results were a part of a study involving 2,200 children. Hopefully this will lead to shots for kids by the summer time.
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Red October is my code name for J&J
Where in the world is Johnson and Johnson?
Do you really want the J&J vaccine? Here's what I know and here's what I don't know. You can find the weekly state allocations here. It might help you on your quest to secure an elusive J&J vaccine.
History: Week 13, or the week starting March 8th, was the first time I saw the J&J vaccines on the HEB website. There were at least four locations. They were Waxahachie, Austin, Tomball, and for the life of me I cannot remember the fourth one. The events were sponsored by HEB on Saturday and Sunday, but they took place at an event center, the AISD school headquarters, and a church. The sign ups for the event in Austin occurred between 8am and 9am on Friday and Saturday for the following days. Week 14 brought 3 more sites - Odessa, Orange Grove, and Waco, but they were located at the HEBs and the quantity distributed seemed to be a lot less. The drops seemed within a span of two days, but of course I did not scribble down when they happened.
If you look at the allocation for Week 15 there is a hefty dose of J&J at the DSHS central pharmacy warehouse. There was also a large amount in Week 13. Coincidence? Where these vaccines go is anyone's guess, but I think we might see some big events this weekend. Of course, there is no consistency to this scheduling system, but I for one will be watching between 8am and 9am for a J&J vaccine drop on Friday and Saturday. I'll keep my expectations low though.
If anyone knows of some good J&J gossip, comment below. If I missed any drops, all I will do is quote Ronald Weasley when he was talking about Dumbledore and the chocolate frog cards in Harry Potter: "You can't expect him to stick around all day can you?"