(WFSB) – As the demand for vaccines levels off, many are wondering about the next step and if they have to get a booster shot.
Scientists across the country are still working to figure out who will need a COVID-19 booster shot and when they’ll need to get it.
The timeline for that is unclear. Experts say trials are still being done to determine how long the vaccine protection will last.
Sharon Echtman’s husband lives at the Chesterfield’s Apple Rehab Facility. He was part of one of the first groups in the state to get vaccinated.
“Once I get into his room, because we’ve both been vaccinated, I can hug him, I can kiss him, I can touch him. We could not do that before,” Echtman said.
Scientists are working to figure out how long the vaccine immunity lasts. The calendar is getting closer to half a year since the most vulnerable were vaccinated.
Doctors and scientists across the country, including leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said people will likely need a booster shot, but they have said when.
“We know coronaviruses in general seem to last maybe two to five years, so it may be possible in that time period we may need a booster, but the data is still being collated,” said Dr. Lisa Cuchara.
Dr. Lisa Cuchara with Quinnipiac University says Pfizer and Moderna are doing trials right now to determine the need for boosters. She says a lot of it depends on the evolution of variants.
“They have three arms. One group of people who have those two doses of the vaccine, one group of people who are getting a booster, and one group that’s getting a booster that would be especially geared towards some of the variants,” Dr. Cuchara said.
Doctors are also keeping an eye on breakthrough cases, which are people who are fully vaccinated and still get COVID. Those cases have been low so far.
“Most likely folks are going to need a booster, especially those who have any immunity response issues, but the NIH will tell us if that is needed,” said Dr. Karl Minges.
Dr. Karl Minges from the University of New Haven says right now, the primary focus is still vaccinated as many people as possible.
Echtman says she’s also focusing on the present.
“We just lost a whole year and we’ll never get that back, so I just want to make the most of what we have now,” Echtman said.
Dr. Cuchara and Dr. Minges says experts are keeping an eye on the Delta variant, a new form of COVID-19, and if the current vaccine is effective against it. So far, the vaccine has been effective against most variants.