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COVID-19 can infect 100 million people in the US in the fall: Is it better to get vaccinated again or wait a few months?

2022-05-07T15:25:12.987Z

One in three people may get sick when temperatures drop again, according to the government, and money for vaccines and tests is running out. How should we protect ourselves?



The federal government anticipates that a new wave of COVID-19 infections in the fall and winter could affect one in three people in the country, with up to 100 million cases.

Experts recommend waiting until then to receive the second booster dose of the vaccine, although for some risk groups it is already available, and both authorities and doctors expect that after that it will become routine to be vaccinated every year.

The Administration chaired by Joe Biden published this Friday a projection of up to 100 million coronavirus infections and a potentially significant wave of deaths at the end of this year and the beginning of next due to the rise of new omicron strains that can evade the immune response by previous infections. 

These data are part of a government initiative to obtain funds from Congress to respond to the pandemic in the coming months with vaccines, tests and treatments.

The White House asked for 22.5 billion dollars, but the agreement closed with the support of legislators in the Senate in April was for 10 billion. 

The projection of infections assumes that omicron will continue to be the dominant variant in the fall and winter, and does not foresee a new strain of the virus dramatically different, according to an official explained to The Washington Post, who acknowledged in any case that the course of the pandemic may be affected by several factors. 

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Nurse Noleen Nobleza administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Julio Quiñones at a clinic set up in the CalOptima parking lot in Orange, California, on August 28, 2021. Jae C. Hong / AP

Experts agree that new subvariants, along with fewer restrictions and a drop in the immunity provided by vaccines, can trigger infections even more.

There are countries, like the United States, that are already offering a second booster dose (the fourth injection, in the case of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine) for the most vulnerable groups.

However, doctors aren't sure if another injection would benefit the general population.

When should a new dose be received?

Epidemiologist Ali Mokdad, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told the aforementioned newspaper that a sudden increase in infections in winter is possible, but experts seem to agree so far that there are no data. sufficient on the degree of protection of another dose.

The World Health Organization has not recommended the fourth dose, and believes "there is no good evidence so far" that it is beneficial, according to its chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan.

“What we know immunologically is that if you get another booster, you will see a temporary increase in antibodies.

But what we've also seen is that these antibodies will decline fairly quickly," Swaminathan told CNBC.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the second booster dose for people 50 years of age or older, as well as for immunosuppressed people.

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"A fourth dose doesn't really make much of a difference ... I'm not sure we have to go hopping around saying everyone should get on board with this," said Paul Goepfert, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama. .

More funds for tests and treatments 

The White House is concerned that a significant portion of the antiviral and test drug stockpile will run out due to a spike in cases in the South over the summer, as has happened in the past.

Without those tools, they say the country would be unprepared for a new wave in the fall and winter, and deaths and hospitalizations could skyrocket.

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If Congress remains deadlocked and does not approve more funding, the White House could use the money that was set aside for tests and therapies to buy more vaccines. 

The new normal: one vaccine per year

The new mutations that the coronavirus accumulates, which for now are creating omicron subvariants but could give rise to new strains in the future, will make it necessary for vaccines to be adapted periodically.

Thus, it may be necessary to receive a new dose every year or every two years, White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci told NBC News in January.

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"Widespread immunity induced by vaccines and infections, combined with the availability of effective therapies, could mitigate the effects of future outbreaks. However, it is time to accept that the presence of the virus is the new normal," says an expert analysis of the FDA published in the medical journal JAMA.

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Specialists point out that it is likely to continue to circulate worldwide in the coming years along with influenza viruses.

"Society is moving towards a new normal that could well include annual vaccination against COVID-19 along with the seasonal influenza vaccine," these experts said. 

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2022-05-07

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