Booster doses of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines are strongly recommended by public health and medical professionals—even more so during the recent surge in cases caused by the Omicron variant of concern—to lower the risk of symptomatic COVID-19 and more severe cases requiring hospitalization. Emerging data continue to support booster doses as both safe and effective for these purposes. A recent studypublished in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) found that vaccine effectiveness at preventing severe COVID-19 was higher after a booster dose than after the second dose of mRNA vaccine. The effectiveness of boosters wanes after about 4 months but remains highly protective against severe disease. These findings were consistent across both the Delta-dominant and Omicron-dominant periods. The findings support further consideration of additional booster doses that could be valuable against future outbreaks or variants. Despite booster doses being highly effective in preventing emergency department visits and hospitalizations due to COVID-19, public uptake of booster doses has slowed in recent months in the US. A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 60% of vaccinated but not boosted respondents stated that the Omicron wave did not greatly impact their decision whether or not to get a booster. Only around 29% of respondents reported that the Omicron wave made them more likely to get a booster shot. Additional data from the CDC on hospitalizations and deaths show that booster doses are most beneficial to older adults. The argument for booster doses is strongest in those aged 65 years and older, for whom booster doses reduced the death rate per 100,000 cases by around 90 times. More work still needs to be done to better understand the durability of immunity following booster doses as well as to encourage more people, particularly those in higher-risk populations, to receive their booster doses.
CSSE is reporting 77,990,622 positive cases in the U.S. and 924,037 deaths. DOH reported for the week ending February 10, 5,732,798 confirmed cases in Florida with 67,572 deaths.