Age gaps persist in Virginia’s attempt to deliver booster shots

You can get your booster five months after your last Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and two months...
You can get your booster five months after your last Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and two months after you Johnson and Johnson.
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 8:32 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Getting Virginians boosted has been a tall task for health departments and healthcare workers, and there’s a wide gap among who is getting that third shot.

UVA Health doctors say it’s a rarity for a fully vaccinated and boosted person to end up in the hospital. Yet, still fewer than a quarter of Virginians in both the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups have gotten the shot.

According to data from the Virginia Department of Health, the only age group where more than 40% have been boosted is 55-and-up.

UVA Health’s Director of Hospital Epidemiology, Dr. Costi Sifri, said that may be because younger people don’t feel the risk.

“It is true that most of them are not as high risk as people who are older,” he said. “But they are at risk. And unfortunately, we do see people who are younger, who are hospitalized.”

Those booster numbers are slightly higher in the Blue Ridge Health District, but still, young people lag behind senior citizens.

Still, UVA Geriatrician Dr. Laurie Archbald-Pannone said there’s work to be done getting seniors boosted, calling it the best additional tool we have to battle COVID-19.

“What we know is that that third booster shot of either the Pfizer or the Moderna can take the risk of hospitalization down tremendously,” she said.

Archbald-Pannone just wrote an article, published in The Conversation, with the intent of bringing conversations she’s having with her patients to a wider audience. In it, she calls for a repeat of the “Herculean efforts” health departments made getting the first two shots to seniors -- this time for boosters.

“There was a great effort and push in the beginning of [2021] to get our older adults vaccinated and it’s important that we do that again here in 2022.”

The Blue Ridge Health District is still offering at-home COVID-19 vaccinations, a measure aimed toward the most vulnerable members of our community. It says so far that has helped deliver nearly 1,000 vaccines.

Copyright 2022 WVIR. All rights reserved.

Do you have a story idea? Send us your news tip here.