Saturday, August 21, 2021

To Boost or Not

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Science & Society

Ed Hessler 

You have probably seen Dr. Leana Wen on television (CNN medical analyst) or read her columns for The Washington Post, and especially when she served as Baltimore's Health Commissioner, "the nation's oldest continuously operating health department in the U.S."

Dr. Wen now writes a column for The Washington Post - "The Checkup With Dr. Wen." In the inaugural issue of the column she writes about one of the dominate medical headlines: booster vaccinations. The recommendation has been one of change. At first, booster vaccinations only for the moderately or severely immunocompromised among us but within a week or so, another announcement from federal health officials announced their preparation for booster shots for all of us, "eight months after their initial vaccination."

Wen writes that three recently released CDC studies have found signs of "waning effectiveness ... a third dose could increase antibody levels by at least fivefold." An Israeli study found that a third dose "restores robust immune protection, including against the delta variant."

As Dr. Wen notes - a point that cannot be made strongly enough "there aren't clear-cut, one-size-fits-all answers" (her emphasis). It is her hope that "federal health officials will allow people to make their own decisions - in consultation with their doctors." A nuanced approach is needed, she says and describes three scenarios: "a healthy, fully vaccinated person, "someone with several underlying medical conditions or who lives at home with unvaccinated children," and "an elderly individual  with chronic (diseases who) frequently see...extended family (members), who are not as careful as you in following safety precautions."

The CORONA-19 virus will continue to surprise us as will the medical recommendations based on the best evidence. We are also implicated. Whether we are vaccinated or not and our social practices - masking when in crowded places, attendance at large events, travel. 

Here is her column with details where you may also sign up for the Coronvirus Updates newsletter (3 times weekly) and her newsletter.

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