I am going to use this month’s President’s Message to give another COVID update. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our in-person CE last month due to an increase in cases of COVID in San Diego. There have been about 14,000 new cases in the last two weeks (or 1,000 new cases per day) compared to about 50 new cases per day back in July. There is speculation as to the cause. Is it the new Delta variant that seems to be more contagious, even in vaccinated individuals? Is it the unvaccinated who are spreading the virus? Or is it waning immunity from the vaccine?
Studies have shown that vaccinated individuals can spread the virus just as easily as unvaccinated individuals. Those of us who are vaccinated carry the same viral load of the Delta variant in our nasal passages as unvaccinated. This means we can spread it just as easily, but we likely will not get as sick. This is why the CDC recommends still wearing a mask indoors even if you are vaccinated. In addition, new reports are showing that 98% of the hospitalizations from COVID, in the recent months, are people who are not vaccinated. This shows us that the vaccine is indeed working and why it is so important to get vaccinated! Although, there are cases of vaccinated individuals being hospitalized. This brings me to my next point: who gets a booster vaccine and when can they get it?
The last update from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported that only those who received two doses of Pfizer are eligible for a third dose at this time. Those who received Moderna or Johnson and Johnson are not eligible, but more research is being done to determine if it will be needed in the future. The CDC and CDPH recommend the following groups should get a third dose:
- People 65 years and older
- People aged 18 years and older in long-term care settings
- People aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions
The CDC and CDPH recommend the following groups may receive a third dose:
- People aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions
- People aged 18-64 years at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting:
- First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police)
- Education staff
- Corrections workers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Grocery store workers
So, as a healthcare worker, you may receive a third dose if you have received two doses of Pfizer already. The third dose can be administered any time 28 days after your second dose of Pfizer, no sooner.
If you would also like to receive the newsletters or telebriefing invitations from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, you can register here: registration link.
I hope you are all staying safe and I hope to see you soon!