FDA advisory panel to meet to discuss whether US should begin dispensing Pfizer booster shots

The debate over COVID-19 vaccinations continues.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The debate over COVID-19 vaccinations continues.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is still vowing to fight the federal government over mandatory vaccinations for some workers.

Next week, booster shots may be available for some fully vaccinated people who got their second shot eight months ago. Now, there is a new debate if those shots are needed now.

Robert and Jackie Ford have been vaccinated, and both said they plan on getting a booster shot as soon as they can.

“I think, if it will do some good, you need to take it. I’m going to take it. I think it will do me some good. I had the COVID, but I will still take it if it’s available to me,” Robert Ford said.

Transplant recipients and other people with weakened immune systems may not have gotten enough protection from the COVID-19 vaccine to begin with, so they can receive a third dose at least 28 days after their second shot as part of their initial series of shots needed for them to be fully vaccinated. For those with normal immune systems, boosters are given much later after full vaccination — not to establish protection, but to rev it up again.

Starting next week, booster shots may be available. Some studies and doctors from the World Health Organization suggest those shots may be unnecessary for now because the effectiveness of the vaccine may not have worn off. Some WHO doctors say booster shots should be donated to countries that need them for first shots.

On Friday, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel will meet to discuss whether the U.S. should begin dispensing booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine to shore up people’s protection.

In Jacksonville, Dr. Mohammed Reza says that those who were the first to get vaccinated in the city and will be eligible for the booster should get them when available. The reason, he says, is many of them are frontline workers.

“If you were exposed to COVID on a regular basis or working on the front lines, it’s probably not a bad idea to get that shot,” Reza said. “You do want that extra protection to boost that immunity.”

Those first vaccinated in Jacksonville also included seniors. Some, even though vaccinated, are still susceptible to the coronavirus.

“That booster shot is going to be a wonderful thing. It’s going to be great,” Jackie Ford said.

There is some encouraging news regarding the coronavirus in Jacksonville. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is coming down in the city. For example, at UF Health Jacksonville on Tuesday, there were 89 COVID-19 patients. That is the first time since mid-July that the number has been below 100.

“This is just a progression of the surges,” Reza said. “It’s about a two-month period. You see that early incline around July. Now we’re seeing a large decline, a bell curve, we’re on the other side of it, thankfully.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.