UVA doctor weighs in on Pfizer’s newly-authorized booster shot

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 3:20 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Millions of Americans can now get a COVID-19 booster shot. Those who are at least 65 years old, those at risk of severe disease, and those who are at heightened risk because of their jobs, can now get a Pfizer booster shot.

The newly-authorized shot aims to prevent symptomatic infections and breakthrough cases that lead to hospitalization. Primary vaccination is still highly effective.

Dr. Taison Bell with University of Virginia Health says this is a big move to keep frontline healthcare workers healthy, especially with a nationwide shortage of nurses and hospital staff.

“Now we’re in a situation where our staffing is so crucial that if you have a healthcare worker who calls in symptomatic from disease and they can’t work, that could potentially put a strain on the healthcare system,” Dr. Bell said during a press briefing Friday, September 24.

“It’s very important that we try to protect the healthcare workforce, just as important as it was when we initially rolled out vaccination, because a nationwide shortage on nurses and respiratory therapists makes that much more crucial and if we’re understaffed in the hospital, then that care suffers globally,” he said.

Many healthcare workers were among the first to get vaccinated, meaning their vaccine’s effectiveness may have waned over the past several months. Dr. Bell says many of the trials showing the effectiveness level to wane included healthcare workers, all the more reason for a booster shot.

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