WNY health experts support booster shots for people most at risk for Covid


BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — It’ll be a matter of time before people can start receiving a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, now that the FDA approved booster shots on Friday for emergency use for Pfizer’s vaccine.

“There’s good studies showing that each exposure to the vaccine greatly increases the immune responses in these individuals who typically have very impaired responses,” said Dr. Kevin Gibbons, who’s the senior associate dean for clinical affairs at the Jacobs School of Medicine.

The booster shot is for people 65 and older, people with a high risk for covid complications and those working on the front lines.

“The elderly population, those who have high risk factors who are getting the disease or exposed to the disease, or dying from the disease, those who are exposed are healthcare workers and other employees who interact with the public in such high volume especially those who could be a greater risk,” said Dr. Willie Underwood, who’s the executive director of the Buffalo Center for Health Equity .

The third dose can start being administered at least six months after people received their first two doses. Health experts hope this news also encourages people who are unvaccinated to get their first doses.

“I’m hoping that those who have been standing on the sides, saying ‘oh it’s not tested, I don’t know or whatever they’re coming up with these days,'” Doctor Underwood said.

Dr. Gibbons says even having 10 to 15 percent more adults vaccinated in the country could make a difference.

“It might make a big difference on how this fall goes because we are in a situation where kids are back at school, we’re starting to see events like Frozen at Shea’s and the Bills games, the weather is going to change in 6 to 8 weeks so we’re going to spending more time indoors so we are likely going to have bumps and spikes,” Dr. Gibbons said.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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