Baystate doctor discusses approval of new COVID-19 booster shots
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Earlier this week, following U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has formally recommended new COVID-19 booster shots for anyone six months and older. The updated Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are designed to closely target variants that are circulating right now, including omicron variant XBB.1.5.
The conversation on the vaccine continues and people Western Mass News spoke with Thursday have different thoughts, but said they are doing what is best for them. Deanna Harrison was visiting from Florida and said not getting the vaccine and booster works for her.
“I just go without it and I have seemed to been doing fine,” Harrison said. “I have heart issues and I know there’s complications due to the COVID shots and boosters. I’ve heard from other people and my cardiologist as well.
However, Agawam resident Vincent Govoni said keeping up with the vaccine helped him to combat the virus twice.
“Thank God, very, very mild and I contribute that to getting the boosters,” Govoni said.
However, they still had some questions.
“If anything in it, if it affects anybody with a heart condition. I have SVT and I have aFib and I have heard of other folks as well who had the shot and they had adverse reactions to it,” Harrison asked.
“You certainly would want to check with a doctor too to make sure,” Govoni noted.
So, that’s what we did.
“This vaccine is considered largely safe. Of course, the risk of reaction cannot be predicted, but in comparison to the benefit that you would get from the COVID-19, it’s the benefit is higher than the risk,” said Dr. Armando Paez, chief of infectious diseases at Baystate Medical Center.
Paez said the dosing may be slightly different, but the same as previous vaccines. Despite similarities, Paez emphasized the importance of maintaining immunity.
“SARS-COV-2, which is the virus behind COVID-19, they develop variants and what we will learn so far in this pandemic is the variants do evolve rather quickly,” Paez added. “Other respiratory viruses they still go like for example flu, but SARS-COV-2, what we’ve experienced is they develop rather quickly to the point that new variants of COVID in a year that may eve post what you call an immune escape.”
According to Walgreens, eligible people can schedule appointments for the booster immediately. Available appointments start Monday, September 18 with the chance of early appointments being added on a rolling basis as pharmacies receive the vaccines.
Meantime, a spokesperson for CVS told us, in part: “Pharmacies will begin receiving the new vaccine today and will continue to receive inventory on a rolling basis throughout the week. All CVS Pharmacy locations are expected to have the vaccination in stock by early next week.”
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