Even with pandemic slowdown, Monument Health says “people should take it seriously” to subvariant

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 4:51 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The FDA made an amendment for the emergency use of the Moderna and Pfizer boosters for those who are 50 or older, allowing them to get a second dose after four months from receiving their first.

Dr. Shankar Kurra, Monument Health’s Vice President of Medical Affairs, says evidence strongly suggests that the first booster saved lives after the Delta Variant emerged.

He says that research contributed to the authorization of the second booster with the new Omicron BA-2 subvariant, which is currently rising in the U.S.

Dr. Kurra says as new variants and subvariants pop up it creates a need for boosters, and as the amount of new variants drop, the need for boosters does too.

As long as there’s no new variants,” Kurra explains, “I don’t see a need for new booster doses. What’s happening with each of these variants is they’re becoming more transmissible and able to evade the immune system, and that’s why the boosters. The best bet we can make right now is hoping for no new variants.”

Dr Kurra says boosters are necessary, because the antibodies that vaccines produce wane over the course of four to six months.

He says boosters are especially helpful for those who are high risk, being anyone over the age of 50 or with immune compromising health problems, a group of people he’s concerned about being harmed by the BA-2 subvariant.

”They are the most vulnerable. We know that for a fact,” Dr. Kurra says, “because the evidence is clear in the U.S. 75-percent of all of the deaths that have occurred in the pandemic thus far, over the two years, have all [75%] occurred in the age group 65 and older.”

Kurra says the best way to manage any increase in cases stemming from the subvariant would be for at risk people to stay protected by getting the booster, and wearing masks in indoor crowded places.

He adds he doesn’t think this is a light matter, and that people should take it seriously.

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