Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone over 50, public health experts disagree on who should get it.
“I think people should consider very seriously going ahead and stepping in and getting that fourth vaccine so that they’re fully protected, as much as they can be,” says Dr Robert UCLA’s Kim Farley. 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, “definitely over 65.”
A fourth injection provides even better protection, according to a new, non-peer-reviewed Israeli study. This study indicates that a second booster reduced the number of deaths in people over 60 by more than half, compared to those who received only 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 if there is a new BA.2 Omicron variant slowly spreading, experts say that’s no reason to give everyone a fourth shot.
“I don’t think we’re going to see the major push like we saw with this first variant of Omicron,” says Dr. Kim-Farley of UCLA.
In addition to vaccines, public health doctors say there is now a range of effective FDA-approved drugs to treat people who test positive for Covid, such as Pfizer’s Paxlovid pills or the monoclonal antibody called Evoshield for immunocompromised people.
“I’m very optimistic about these drugs being another tool to help fight Covid,” says Dr Kim-Farley.
Tools, whether it’s therapeutic pills or reminders, that each 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 some point in our lives,” UCLA’s Kim-Farley told I-Team.