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…And Boosters for All

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Photo by CDC  from Unsplash

Published in the Humboldt Independent on August 24, 2021. 

From the frontlines of the Great Misinformation Wars of 2021, here’s your weekly COVID report. At least 371 new cases of coronavirus landed in Humboldt this past week, more than a dozen of which required hospitalization. At least one person has died. Vaccination rates, which have dropped consistently on a national scale since April, are beginning to pick up ever so slightly in the past month or so, but Humboldt county is still moping around a 52% vaccination rate, not far off from the rest of the state. Despite the urgency posed by the delta variant and breakthrough infections, the pleas and letters from health care providers near and far, the wholesale endorsement of both flavors of politician, and the tireless efforts of this humble author, the Unpoked have withdrawn, deep in the mountain provinces of Facebook and beyond the reach of conventional wisdom. Be wary, travelers. Here there be Dunning-Krugers, and strawmen, and causation without correlation.

A booster?

…everyone agress that the most at-risk should definitely get a booster shot…

Yonder lies Booster Hill, where even now a pitched battle takes place. You can hear the rattle of the keyboards from here. Fauci and his cohort have announced a third “booster” shot of vaccine is now recommended, especially for those already vulnerable to COVID-19. This suggestion was not endorsed unanimously by the medical community, and some found it a bit rash for reasons both logical and logistical. That said, there’s no real “debate” on the issue, aside from the whens and the wheres, and everyone agrees that the most at-risk should definitely get a booster shot when they become available in September.

But…

The resistance to infection outright is what diminishes…not the same as resistance to “negative outcomes” of COVID…

Does this mean that the vaccines wear off? Absolutely not. The resistance to infection outright is what diminishes, and that is not the same as resistance to the “negative outcomes” of COVID, such as dying and almost dying. There’s no evidence that death or hospitalization rates have increased over time in the fully vaccinated, indicating that the main effect of the vaccine (not dying) isn’t wearing off at all, as far as we know. But, if it does start to look that way, this recommendation hopes to preempt any negative outcomes before someone becomes a statistic.

If you get a booster shot, does that mean that someone else might miss out on their vaccination? No, not directly, and probably not indirectly either. The U.S. is cranking out an enormous amount of vaccines for domestic and foreign distribution, and will have more than enough to dose every American three times over before long.

If you’ve already been vaccinated, there’s no current evidence that you “need” another dose to maintain your defenses. The recommendation is the professional, scientific equivalent of “it couldn’t hurt”: you’ve already gotten a shot or two without adverse reactions, so just in case some kind of horrible ultra-turbo variant emerges tomorrow to threaten the future of mankind, you might have a better shot of living to tell the tale if you give your body a refresher course on how to send the virus packing. However, if the you in question is in fact you (and not, say, me) and you are already at risk for COVID and COVID accessories, then you absolutely should make arrangements to get stuck: you can head to myturn.ca.gov to schedule an appointment right away.

Galen Lastko, submitted on behalf of the SoHum Health’s Outreach department.

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