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Do I Need An Annual COVID-19 Vaccine?

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COVID-19 stands poised to persist as a chronic presence in the coming years. Another uptick of mild cases in late May affirmed that the disease is still a part of our lives. Newer therapeutics offer the ability to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 to avoid hospitalization and death among the unvaccinated. If an annual vaccine is the recommendation handed down by federal officials, the booster shot will likely come in the fall to reduce the rate of infectious cases which may begin to surge in the autumn and winter months.

SARS-CoV-2 mutates frequently as a single-stranded RNA virus and can be unpredictable. It’s impossible to know what shapes it might take next. Though we are in a much better place than we were two years ago, the fight is ongoing. There is no magical way in which this virus will vanish, but the vaccines are now showing an evidence-based track record of resilience to the newest variants of the disease. If considering vaccination, or an additional booster shot, you should discuss with your doctor.

Many patients will wonder: what’s the point, is this fourth or fifth shot not just redundant? The evidence shows that vaccines remain effective, but additional study data is waiting to be published from the next round. For the older and immunocompromised, a booster may be safer than not getting one at all. We recommend a comprehensive discussion with your physician to decide.

The updated vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and soon Novavax are expected to roll out this fall and are designed to target Omicron variants which have gone previously unchecked by the earlier shots. Millions of doses of this new vaccine could be available by October (the FDA will meet on June 28th to decide).

In Tennessee, 54.8% of the population is fully vaccinated, and 62.5% of the population has received an initial dose. If you are at-risk with COVID, the best plan will be to follow the recommendations of the FDA this fall: get your flu shot, get your booster, and better protect yourself against other variants based on the latest recommendations.

If you wish to learn more or discuss your concerns with an expert – or you simply want to “breathe better” again – call “The Lung Docs” at 423-710-3864 for an appointment. It’s one number, one call, that’s all!