(CNN) – Health experts reinforce that full vaccination remains highly effective against serious illness and death caused by COVID-19 as federal regulators consider the possibility of allowing a third dose in the coming weeks .
“What is the purpose of this vaccine? The stated goal of (CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky) and others is to prevent serious infections, and all of today’s data, released by the CDC, presented by the CDC, is exactly what it does, ”Dr. Paul Offit, a senior vaccine expert and US Food and Drug Administration adviser, said Friday.
“There has been no evidence of a clear erosion of protection against critical illness,” he said.
The conversation around vaccines has fluctuated as health experts learn new information about the coronavirus and its variants.
But in the midst of the debate, experts are consistent in noting the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Remember that even the current doses of vaccines still protect you just as well from hospitalization and death. We’re not back in early 2020 or even early 2021 for those of us who haven’t received any boosters yet. We are still protected from the worst effects of this virus, ”Dr. Megan Ranney, professor of emergency medicine at Brown University, told CNN on Friday.
CNN analysis of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from August suggests more than 99.99% of fully vaccinated people have not had a breakthrough case of COVID-19 resulting in hospitalization or death .
And it is because of such a level of protection that Offit stressed that America can make significant progress against the pandemic by simply vaccinating the unvaccinated.
He added that the messages from the federal government on the booster injections have been confusing and frustrating.
“It’s confusing for people. I’ve had a number of calls and emails from people saying, “Wait, so I’m not fully protected anymore? »», Declared Offit.
“I think the message that should come out now is that if you’ve been given two doses of mRNA vaccines you have a very good chance of not having a serious infection, and this has lasted until now, that you should consider yourself protected against critical illness.
About 62.2% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while about 52.9% are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. Of the 10 states with the worst rates of COVID-19 cases in the past week, seven of them also had among the top 10 vaccination rates, according to the agency.
Plan for booster shots ‘confusing people’, says senior FDA official
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to meet on September 17 to discuss COVID-19 booster injections. Last month, the White House said people who received the two mRNA vaccines – the two-shot vaccines made by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna – could receive boosters starting September 20.
However, on Thursday, acting FDA commissioner Dr Janet Woodcock said the administration still did not have enough data on the safety of booster injections.
“Why announce this? Well, we have to have a plan and the plan would involve vaccinating huge numbers of people in the United States with a booster dose, ”Woodcock told WebMD’s Dr. John Whyte in a virtual interview posted in line Thursday.
“We have to make a plan before we have all the data and I think, John, that’s what confuses people,” Woodcock said.
“The trends that we are seeing in resistance to the virus in fully immune people lead us to believe that at some point we are going to cross that threshold and we are going to see more serious hospitalizations and illness and when that happens we want to be ready, ”Woodcock told Whyte.
True, White House officials have announced that the deployment of the recall will be subject to FDA green light and CDC approval. Woodcock said on Thursday the data already showed waning immunity in those vaccinated.
Officials told CNN on Friday that there had been conversations within the Biden administration about reducing the recall plan over fears the FDA was prepared to recommend recalls for people who received the. Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, the agency does not have enough data on Moderna to make this recommendation, an official told CNN.
Pfizer / BioNTech sought FDA approval for a booster injection last month, and Moderna said it applied on Wednesday.
Florida sees drop in COVID-19 cases
Meanwhile, there has been good news from Florida, which has broken its own record for new COVID-19 cases several times in the past month. Over the past week, there has been a drop in cases, according to data released Friday by the state’s health department.
The state averaged about 18,463 new cases daily last week, which equates to 588.1 new cases per 100,000 people every day between August 27 and September 2. This is a decrease from the previous week, when the average of new daily cases was 21,678.
Florida has fully immunized just over half of its population, according to CDC data.
Meanwhile, the mask tenure feud between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and public school districts continues. DeSantis has been fighting with school officials for weeks because he banned mask warrants in schools, but some have implemented them anyway.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has sent individual letters to nine districts demanding that districts “document how your district is complying with the Florida Department of Health emergency rule” as part of ” a non-compliance investigation. He also threatened to withhold state funds if districts did not fully comply with DeSantis’ order to include a parent opt-out option in school mask tenure policies.
CNN has confirmed that all nine districts have now responded to Corcoran’s August 27 letter.
They argued that they were complying with Florida law and viewed the warrant as a health and safety necessity. Some districts also mentioned last week’s decision by a Florida judge who said DeSantis did not have the power to ban mask warrants altogether. DeSantis filed a notice of appeal of the judge’s decision on Thursday.