UNC expert recommends vaccine boosters to help shore up waning immunity


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Currently, the FDA has authorized Moderna and Pfizer boosters only for people who are 65 and older, or whose jobs or health conditions put them at higher COVID-19 risk.

That may not be the case for long.

According to published reports, the FDA will soon consider lowering the age for Moderna and Pfizer boosters to 40.

Elaine Tarkington and Todd Spain got their COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they could.

“I did not want to be sick,” Tarkington said. “Even if I was in the bracket where it shouldn’t kill me, I did not want to chance it.”

More than six months have passed since they got their shots. While they still feel protected, Spain noted, “We’re certainly watching the efficacy.”

UNC infectious disease specialist Dr. David Wohl said experts are also looking at the efficacy of the vaccines over time.

“We do worry about waning immunity, the protection weakening, and we don’t want to wait for that to happen,” he said. “So why not shore it up now before that happens?”

Wohl recommended getting a booster when eligible.

“I’m going to get boosted and I’m going to recommend people get boosted even if they are 10 years younger than me, just because I think it’s going to be smart,” he explained. “We are all going to get boosters eventually — it’s just a matter of timing.”

After seeing COVID-19 affect family and friends, Tarkington and Spain plan to get boosters as soon as they can.

“We have some young people in our family who got it. That worried us a great deal and we want to make sure we are not in that category,” Spain said.

“If the booster gives me even a slightly better chance of not getting it and not being sick, then I am all for it,” Tarkington added. “I will be the first to sign up.”

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