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Chloe Oppelt

Why You Should Get The COVID-19 Booster Vaccine

COVID-19 cases are on the rise globally due to the presence of the new Omicron variant. The CDC recommends that all eligible citizens get their booster vaccine.

The new Omicron variant stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading rapidly in the United States; while research is still being conducted, scientists have deduced that this variant has a higher transmission rate and that there is a decrease in vaccine efficacy against this strain. In response to the new variant, the CDC is now prompting all eligible citizens to get the COVID-19 booster shot, and for the unvaccinated to get their first shot(s) of the vaccine. 

“Right now, officially, fully vaccinated equals two shots of the mRNA and one shot of the J&J, but without a doubt that could change,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Scientists believe that getting a booster shot is far more effective against the omicron variant, whereas two doses of any vaccine (pfizer, moderna, etc.) is not. 

“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” said Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer. 

Preliminary data has shown that the vaccine offered protection against hospitalizations after two shots decreased from ninety percent to just seventy percent. Studies have also shown that protection against infection has plummeted from the previous eighty percent to just thirty three percent protection with the presence of the new variant. 

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The CDC currently recommends that all children/adults age twelve and older get their covid booster shot six months after their primary vaccination status. 

As of January 1, 2022, Johnson County, Iowa is considered to have a high transmission rate. Under these guidelines, the CDC recommends that everyone wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The county has over a twelve percent positivity rate, and has six hundred seventy newly reported cases and fifty-three recorded new hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Around seventy-four percent of eligible citizens five years and older are at least fully vaccinated, however, only about fifty-three percent of eligible candidates have received their booster. 

Dr. Fauci addressed his approval for in-person schooling amid the spike in COVID-19 cases as parents raised concerns regarding the new variant. The ICCSD announced their new guidelines surrounding COVID-19, including the continuation of requiring masks, and no longer contact tracing. This comes after the CDC shortened quarantine duration to just five days. 

“Wearing masks in the school setting, doing test-to-stay approaches when children get infected, I think all those things put together, it’s safe enough to get those kids back to school, balanced against the deleterious effects of keeping them out,” Fauci said. 

Because COVID-19 cases are still on the rise, there is currently no end to the pandemic in sight, however, increasing vaccination rates globally remains the most effective strategy towards ending the pandemic. 

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