COVID vaccine

Will You Need Another Booster Shot of the COVID Vaccine? Chicago's Top Doc Weighs In

With COVID metrics on the decline and restrictions loosening across the country, some are wondering if a fourth dose will be necessary

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Some Americans are already being encouraged to receive a fourth dose of the COVID vaccine, but could such a recommendation be coming for the general population?

With COVID metrics on the decline and restrictions loosening across the country, some are wondering if added protection will be necessary.

Already, immunocompromised individuals are being encouraged to receive a fourth dose under new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last month.

Small studies have shown that immunocompromised patients show a stronger immune response when receiving a fourth dose approximately three months after the third dose of the vaccine, according to researchers with the CDC.

Chicago's top doctor said she doesn't think such a recommendation will be made anytime soon, though there are some situations where it will.

"At this point, I wouldn't expect to see anything for months," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live Thursday, noting that data surrounding protection from the booster shot indicates the third dose is effective, "especially in terms of protection against the severe outcomes."

Her comments follow a Wall Street Journal report that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may look at authorizing a fourth dose in the fall.

At the same time, the New York Times reported several recent studies suggest three doses could provide protection against severe illness and death for months, perhaps even years.

Arwady said there is one catch, however, that could lead to an earlier second booster recommendation.

"I think the big question would be if we saw a new variant emerge and the vaccine were not as protective against it, that would probably be the setting," she said. "That's why I'm glad to hear sort of at the national level, there's this commitment to ramping up further our ability to quickly produce vaccines in the US., should that be necessary. I think that's good not just for COVID but for all of the other vaccine-preventable diseases."

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