Even though the US Food and Drug Administration Tuesday approved a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine for anyone over 50, public health experts don’t all agree over who should get it.
“I think people should be very seriously considering that they go ahead and step up to the plate, and get that fourth shot so they’re fully protected, as much as they can be protected,” says Dr. Robert Kim-Farley of UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health.
But Dr. Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health says the scope should be limited.
“I don’t think a fourth dose really makes sense for people outside of the severely immunocompromised population or those with high risk conditions,” Dr. Adalja told the NBC4 I-Team.
UCLA’s Dr. Kim-Farley says the fourth shot is a good idea for anyone over 50, “certainly over 65.”
A fourth shot provides even better protection, according to a new study from Israel that has not been peer reviewed. That study says a second booster reduced deaths among people over 60 by more than half, compared to those who only received one booster.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Los Angeles County is now at its lowest level since the summer of 2021.
And even though there is a newer BA.2 Omicron variant slowly spreading, experts say that is not a reason to give a fourth shot to everyone.
“I don’t think we’re going to see the major surge like we saw with this first Omicron variant, says UCLA’s Dr. Kim Farley.
In addition to vaccines, public health doctors say there are now an array of effective FDA approved drugs to treat people who test positive for Covid, like Pfizer’s Paxlovid pills, or the monoclonal antibody called Evoshield for immunocompromise people.
“I’m very optimistic about these drugs that are another tool to help fight Covid,” says Dr. Kim Farley.
Tools—whether therapeutic pills or booster shots—that everyone of us will most likely need at some point.
“Given the transmissibility of Covid, I think we can all expect to have a date with Covid at sometime during our lives,” UCLA’s Kim-Farley told the I-Team.