COVID-19

The New Mexico Department of Health is “actively planning” for COVID-19 booster vaccinations, but is awaiting direction from the Centers for Disease Control before administering them, according to deputy secretary Laura Parajon. 

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel last Friday chose not to recommend booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine for all Americans, instead recommending them only for people over 65 or at high risk of COVID-19 complications. This recommendation is in line with what the United Kingdom currently recommends. 

A final decision on the recommendations is still pending from the FDA and CDC, though it should be decided before the end of the month, according to Parajon. 

The booster shot “may eventually be indicated for the general population, I just don’t think we’re there yet,” said Ofer Levy, the director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Parajon said there are risks involved in introducing boosters too soon or too frequently to combat a virus like COVID-19. She also said existing studies on COVID-19 boosters are still preliminary, and risks may not yet be known. 

“We aren’t sure those studies went deep enough,” Parajon said. 

She said that current two-dose vaccines have proven to be safe and effective, as fully vaccinated individuals are currently five times less likely to be infected, and more than 10 times less likely to be hospitalized or die.

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