Vermont officials discuss booster shots, latest on the Delta variant

Local News

MONTPELIER – As the Biden Administration mulls the possibility of recommending booster shots for those who received either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, state leaders say they’ve already been tackling the logistics of getting people their next dose.

On Friday, the CDC recommended boosters for people who are immunocompromised, which accounts for roughly 3 percent of U.S. adults.

“We are getting signals from the Biden Administration that planning is underway in the next 1 to 2 months regarding boosters for the entire adult broader population,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

He added that the rollout would likely mirror the initial vaccination process earlier this year. The elderly and healthcare workers would be due for the booster first, since they were vaccinated in late December and January.

You’d get the same vaccine you got the first time around, but if you received Johnson and Johnson, the jury is still out on boosters, including for immunocompromised people.

“They do not have enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine,” Dr. Levine said.

The latest modeling shows the Delta variant is still on the upswing across the Northeast, but it’s forecasted that the region will be on the other side of this surge in a few weeks’ time.

In addressing whether new COVID safety recommendations are necessary, Governor Phil Scott once again pointed to Vermont’s strong vaccination rate, and urged those who have yet to roll up their sleeve to reconsider.

“This is why we’re not changing our statewide guidance or adding new recommendations at this time,” Governor Scott said. “Please, help make sure we don’t have to take any steps backward, get a vaccine today. If you have concerns, talk to a trusted medical professional, not Facebook.”

Governor Scott said that on his weekly White House call, Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed hope that vaccines will be approved for children under 12 this fall, though he couldn’t commit to a firm timeline.

Vermont still holds the lowest COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the nation. Since January, only 2 percent of cases have been among those who were fully vaccinated. Of 418,230 fully-vaccinated Vermonters, 630 tested positive, 18 were hospitalized, and 8 died.

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