Third COVID-19 dose? Central Ohio medical experts more concerned about people still needing first shots

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – As the number of COVID-19 cases surge across the country, there are now talks that federal health officials could soon recommend a third, or booster, shot for many vaccinated Americans.

Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts and Mount Carmel Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mark Herbert talked about what this could mean for central Ohio.

Pending FDA authorization, it’s possible that fully-vaccinated Americans could roll up their sleeves for a third time.

Sources said Monday that U.S. health experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 booster shots for anyone who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, eight months after receiving their second dose.

“This isn’t surprising to me,” Roberts said. “This is no different than what we’ve been doing with the flu shot. You get a flu shot one season, it doesn’t protect you for the next season.”

But before recommending a third dose of the vaccine, Roberts said she’d like to see more central Ohioans roll up their sleeves for the first time.

“When I talk to our hospitals here in Columbus, they tell me that the majority of the people in their hospitals right now with COVID-19 are unvaccinated,” she said. “So, we really need to get our community vaccinated, so we can avoid some of those hospitalizations.”

That is a sentiment shared by Herbert.

“I am much more interested in having everyone get their first shot, and I’m less concerned about people who are getting their third shot,” he said. “The difficulty becomes when we don’t have enough vaccine in the community. Then, the virus has the opportunity to develop mutants and those variants can perhaps escape the vaccine. So, we really need to be certain that our first push is toward those who have not been vaccinated.”

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