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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Call for Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters in the United States

COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.
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Last Thursday, September 1, updated boosters of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States were approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health authorities have called for updated boosters of the vaccine to be obtained nationwide.

A year and a half after their introduction, Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccines have been updated and approved by the CDC following clearance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), because although they have contributed to the decrease in COVID-19 mortality rates worldwide, it has become necessary to extend protection against the new BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants.

"The updated COVID-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variant. They can help restore protection that has declined since the previous vaccination and are designed to provide broader protection against the new variants. This recommendation is the result of extensive scientific evaluation and intense scientific debate," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

The vaccine has been of great help during the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus disease, reducing not only the number of deaths in the world but also the complications caused by the disease.

"I think it's important to have at least an annual booster vaccine that contains the most up-to-date protection," Gil Chavez, deputy director of the California Department of Public Health's Center for Infectious Diseases (CDPH), said at a press conference organized by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Ethnic Media Services and the Vaccinate All 58 campaign.

At the same time, he made a comparison with the influenza vaccines that are applied to the population, since these include the strains that circulate over time and he considered that "with COVID-19 we are moving in the same direction".

Likewise, Oliver Brooks, chief medical officer at Watts Healthcare Corporation in Los Angeles, stressed that "the job of the vaccines is to reduce hospitalization and the risk of death," and that those who have all the COVID-19 vaccines are less likely to have the disease in the long term.

He also pointed out that worldwide, inoculation against the SARS-CoV-2 virus disease has prevented between 13 and 16 million deaths. "Vaccines are a biotechnological miracle," said Brooks, acknowledging that inoculation is safe and effective.

Eva Smith, director of the K?ima Medical Center, pointed out the importance of communities receiving the vaccine. Although many of the myths about the vaccine have been debunked by the CDC and CDPH, they continue to influence people's decisions.

On the other hand, Smith felt that people's vaccine fatigue and post-vaccine symptom refusal is being fought, but "it's better that than being very sick with COVID-19," he said.

"This booster has come just in time because there is predicted to be another increase in COVID-19 cases and we need to be ready," said Maggie Park, a pediatrician and San Joaquin County public health officer.

He further noted that these updated vaccines were developed to protect against Omicron BA.5 and its subvariants, as these have been the ones circulating since June, causing at least 87 percent of the COVID-19 cases.

California already received 600 thousand doses of COVID-19 vaccine

In California, 72 percent of the population has the primary series of COVID-19 inoculation, yet only 58.8 percent of those eligible for the booster have received it, said Park, who stressed the importance of those eligible for the booster getting it.

In the meantime, pharmacies, clinics and other health care providers in California have updated doses of COVID-19 vaccines, as the state has received 600,000 doses and expects 400,000 more.

"Our hope is to continue on the path of having few cases and preventing COVID-19 cases during the winter," Chavez said.

He also pointed out that the vaccines are free of charge and that anyone over 12 years of age who already has at least one series of vaccines can receive the booster. 

Finally, he recommended the population to be attentive to the symptoms related to the disease such as cough, nasal secretion, sore throat and sneezing and in case of having them, to stay at home. He also pointed out the importance of continuing to use masks, even though it is not mandatory.

The updated booster inoculation against COVID-19 can be obtained by anyone over 12 years of age who has the initial vaccination schedule, that is, the first two doses, however, it is necessary that at least two months have passed since the last dose of the same.

Persons under 12 years of age will still be able to obtain the original boosters to protect against COVID-19, however, updated vaccines are expected to be available for this age group in the coming weeks.

Those interested in obtaining more information about the vaccine can visit the following web site https://covid19.ca.gov/es/vaccines/.

You may be interested in: San Mateo County to resume COVID-19 vaccination clinics in mid-September

Karina Alvarado
Karina Alvarado
Communications graduate from the FCPyS UNAM. Passionate about gender issues and child protection.

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