Covid vaccine

Connecticut Doctor Explains the Need for COVID Booster Shot

“This booster is to keep us at the highest protection rates we can get,” said Dr. Anuj Vohra, the medical director of emergency services at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington.

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The Biden administration is expected to make an announcement this week about a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine for all Americans. The recommendation will most likely be to get a booster shot eight months after receiving your second dose. This information came from two sources familiar with the current discussions in the Biden administration.

Federal health officials have been looking into whether booster shots would be needed. They have been reviewing cases in the United States and situations in other countries like Israel, where preliminary studies suggest the vaccine’s protection against serious illness dropped among those vaccinated in January.

Several people in East Hartford Tuesday said they are all for a booster shot.

“It took me a while to get my initial shot. But after researching and seeing so many people getting sick, myself and my family included, got COVID, I don’t have a problem with it,” Daly Giguere, of Newington, said.

“I’m happy with that because there’s so many people who are in the hospital already with the virus,” Robert Shannon, of East Hartford, said.

“I’m all for it, Melinda McDonagh, of Coventry, said. “I don’t know how medical professionals are going to handle it with flu shots around the same time and COVID is going to overwhelm, I think doctor’s offices and pharmacies and things of that sort. But I definitely think it’s a good idea.”

While others who have been fully vaccinated are leery about getting a booster shot.

“Technically, I would be due for a booster shot now. Not sure I’m going to do it," Sarah Jones, of East Hartford, said. “I’m just not sure of the lasting effects of the shot itself.”

“I just don’t feel like I need to. The story changes since it’s come out. The facts aren’t straight and I don’t want to be a human guinea pig anymore,” Justin Lavoie, of South Windsor, said.  

Dr. Anuj Vohra, the medical director of emergency services at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, said he understands the frustration people have with the changing guidance.

“I wish this was, 'Hey, take this pill and you’re done.' You wish it was like a dose of penicillin back in the day that cured it. But we’re dealing with an illness that mankind has never seen before and we’re trying to figure it out as we move forward and we’ve got the brightest minds in the world working on this,” Vohra said.

Dr. Vohra went on to say that people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, are being treated for COVID-19 at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, but the unvaccinated are sicker and require longer stays.

Dr. Vohra said a booster will help boost people’s antibodies, but without it, the effectiveness of the initial vaccines will wear down over time.

With the fast-spreading delta variant and the possibility of more variants down the road, Dr. Vohra said he would encourage everyone to get the booster shot when it becomes available.

“Next year, we may have another booster shot that comes out. I think that we have to unfortunately get accustomed to updates. You know we update our laptops, we update our computers, we update so many things in our lives that require modification,” Vohra said.

The booster doses would not begin until the FDA formally approves the vaccines. For Pfizer, that could be in the coming weeks in September.

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