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Politics & Government

The state says it's ready to distribute COVID booster shots

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State health officials say Delaware is ready to distribute the newly recommended COVID booster shots pending FDA approval. 

The CDC announced Wednesday plans to rollout COVID booster shots next month with the recommendation that most Americans take the shot 8 months after being fully vaccinated. 

This comes as some new studies suggest weaning immunity to the virus among vaccinated populations. Delaware’s Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says there has been some evidence of this locally. 

“We have noticed more outbreaks in long-term care facilities, and that includes among vaccinated individuals,” said Rattay. “Previously, in the spring, among our cases we might see one or two percent of our cases were fully vaccinated individuals. But this past couple of weeks, it’s been about 20 percent of our cases.”  

The state is currently reporting an average of 265 cases per day with a just under 75 percent statewide vaccination rate and just over 900 confirmed breakthrough cases total.

The proposed vaccine boosters are expected to increase an individual’s antibody titers that fight against COVID-19 by at least 10 fold.

But University of Delaware Professor of Epidemiology Jennifer Horney says it isn’t clear yet if the booster shots will mean full immunization, or if more doses of vaccine will be recommended in the future.

“Think about more like the common cold as a coronavirus, and we’ve never had a vaccine for that. So, I think it’s probably too early to say about if whether that would end up being something like we would add to the regiment of getting a seasonal influenza shot each year,” said Horney.           

Rattay says the addition of booster shots does not come as a surprise and won’t likely change much in the state’s distribution of the vaccine. She says, under the current system, Delaware can vaccinate about 75,000 individuals each week.

Rattay adds people living in long-term care facilities will be the priority group when boosters are made available.

“The studies suggest individuals and residents in long-term care—their immunity may be weaning faster than the general population,” she said.

Rattay adds the eight-month time window will mean there likely won’t be a mad rush to get booster shots once they’re available.

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