Mayo Clinic and Gundersen Health System experts say COVID booster shot not needed right now

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) – Pfizer has been pushing to get a booster shot of its vaccine authorized, saying it will significantly help with protection from the virus.

But the FDA, CDC and even the Biden administration are saying it’s too soon for a third shot at this time.

Mayo Clinic and Gundersen Health System experts say there’s no need for a third COVID shot right now.

Information about the COVID-19 vaccine is changing by the day.

“Recommendations can change over time, and so all we can do is respond with what we know today,” Mayo Clinic Health System-Rochester Chair of COVID Task Force Dr. Andrew Badley said.

Pfizer has warned protection from the vaccine starts dissipating after six months.

But what we know for sure is the company’s vaccine is 95 percent effective in preventing the virus.

“So a little bit of diminishing effect at this point is not a big problem,” Gundersen Health System vaccine expert Dr. Raj Naik said.

“All of the vaccines we have are outstanding,” Badley said.

But they think it’s likely we will need a booster shot in the future.

“You know, when that is exactly, nobody knows,” Naik said.

When one is needed depends on how well the current vaccines work on vulnerable populations and new strains of the virus.

“The effectiveness against severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths after a full course, is very good still,” Naik said.

Naik says whether getting a third booster dose is needed shouldn’t be getting all the attention.

“I’m less concerned right now about when we need a third dose, and much more concerned about making sure we address those that have not yet received vaccine,” he said.

And for those who are either vaccine hesitant or anti-vaxxers, Badley says you should look at the data.

“The overwhelming majority, greater than 90 percent of those people who are getting sick and dying, are those who have not received the vaccine,” Badley said.

The one constant about the vaccine, despite all the headlines, is that it has proven to be highly successful.

Federal health experts say getting a third dose too soon could lead to a higher risk of adverse side effects.

They also think poorer countries should get the vaccine before fully vaccinated people in richer countries get booster shots.

Naik says the best way to get information about the vaccine is by having a conversation with your healthcare provider.