CDC director Rochelle Walensky now leaving it up to people to make ‘judgement call’ on 2nd booster

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In a shocking turn of events, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has decided to change its guidance on matters related to the COVID-19 virus.

The agency’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, announced that people should now use their own judgment in deciding if and when to get a COVID booster shot. This follows the most recent guidance update from the CDC released on March 30.

In it, the CDC said that a second booster dose for people over 50 is essentially optional provided at least four months had passed since their first booster, and, in somewhat confusing language, wrote that people over the age of 12 with varying degrees of comprised immune systems – from moderate to severe – can also choose to take a second booster and should have no adverse health concerns, Newsweek reported.

This amounts to a fourth shot for some, depending on the original vaccine taken.

The March 30 guidance update came a day after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of a second booster, primarily for those over 50 and certain immunosuppressed individuals. They concluded that “emerging evidence suggests that a second booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine improves protection against severe COVID-19 and is not associated with new safety concerns.”

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, stated in the report, “Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals.”

Marks continued, “Based on an analysis of emerging data, a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals,” the outlet reported.

Conversely, Walensky recently told NBC News that contraction of the Omicron variant “really did boost your immune system quite well” for those who were infected with it over the last few months. She said they could wait thee or four months before getting a second booster shot, if at all.

Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the CDC, told the outlet last week that people ought to “think thoughtfully” when determining whether and/or when to get a fourth shot.

“If you’re in an area where [COVID] is really, really low and you get the booster now and two, three months from now the rate goes up higher, I don’t know [if] you’re going to have the same protection than if you wait a couple months. So that’s why I would say pay attention to what’s going on locally. This is one of those situations where talking to your doctor really matters,” Besser said.

Talking to your doctor?

Walensky added that decisions like this should be a “personal judgment call.”

Her comments came on the heels of a recent study from Israel in which it was concluded that protective effects from additional booster shots “appeared short lived.” The study was comprised of 1.25 million people from the Israeli Ministry of Health database who were 60 years of age or older and eligible for a fourth dose between January 10 and March 2, 2022.

Newsweek wrote of the study:

The people involved in the study were split into three groups. COVID infection and severe illness was estimated starting eight days after receipt of a fourth dose (the fourth dose group) compared to a three-dose group, and a group who had received a fourth dose three to seven days earlier (internal control group).

The researchers found that the rate of severe COVID in the fourth week after receipt of the fourth dose was lower than that in the three-dose group by a factor of 3.5 and that protection against severe illness did not wane in the six weeks after the fourth dose.

Confirmed infection was also lower in the four-dose group by a factor of 2 after four weeks, but “this protection waned in later weeks,” the researchers wrote.


The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday.


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