DETROIT – Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Dr. Frank McGeorge has been keeping viewers up-to-date and informed on all fronts. He’s been answering your questions about the vaccine, the vaccination process and more.
This is a question about the flu vaccine. How do they come up with the flu vaccine for this year if there weren’t many cases of the flu last year? Should I still get the flu vaccine?
You are correct that this year’s vaccine is based on less data than the flu shot of prior years. Simply because there were so few flu cases last year. Basically, the scientists had to work with the data they had. But, yes, you should still get the flu vaccine because it offers some protection even in the years where it turns out not to be a perfect match.
Is the booster vaccine formula different than the vaccine itself? If it isn’t different then why do we need to wait for approval from the FDA and CDC for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson booster vaccines since they were already approved for use?
The Pfizer booster vaccine is the same as the original vaccine and Johnson and Johnson plans to use their original vaccine too. But Moderna has actually proposed using a half dose of its vaccine as a booster. That’s because Moderna gave a higher dose initially. Because each of the three vaccines are different we are waiting for the FDA and CDC to evaluate Moderna and Johnson and Johnson data on the need, safety and effectiveness of booster doses.
When they first said that people with compromised immune systems could get a booster. I walked into Walgreens and got my third shot of Moderna. Is that OK with what’s going on with Pfizer and their boosters?
Yes, and this is an important point. A third dose of Moderna is already authorized for immune compromised people. That’s because follow-up studies have found many did not get a sufficient response to the first two doses. The recommended third dose of Pfizer or Moderna for the immune compromised is separate from the recent discussion about boosters for other groups.
I am a psychotherapist and I am wondering if I qualify for the booster. I received my second Pfizer dose on Feb. 25. I see patients in person very regularly. I am a little confused with the new CDC recommendations coming out and it seems like the most recent update is that healthcare workers do qualify for the booster shot.
Yes. As a healthcare worker you would qualify for the booster.
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