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VDH doctor says it's too soon to know when Virginians may need booster shots

Posted at 2:07 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 16:51:18-04

NORFOLK, Va. - This week Pfizer announced it's moving forward with seeking emergency authorizationfor a third dose of its vaccine later this summer.

Both the FDA and CDC say Americans don'tneed booster shots at this time. VDH says they're following federal guidelines.

"Right now, it's just too soon to tell when or if a booster shot will be needed," said Dr. Parham Jaberi, the acting district health director of VDH's Norfolk and Virginia Beach offices. "In general, what we see with many types of vaccines - the level of protections do decrease over time, but whether that's six months from now, a year from now - we just don't have enough data at this point to be able to reliably say when individuals will need a booster vaccine."

Right now, the number of new cases is flat in the eastern region of Virginia following a big decline over the spring. A year ago Virginia, and particularly Hampton Roads, saw a big spike in cases following the July 4th holiday, so is that something that could happen this year?

"I don't necessarily anticipate that same type of increase given the fact that we have so many individuals vaccinated. Some people have already been exposed, and I think there's just a greater respect for some of the general social distancing measures and best practices," said Jaberi.

This week the CDC Director said more than 99-percent of the current deaths from COVID-19 are unvaccinated people. VDH says that trend is true here as well. "It's exactly the same trend here in Virginia. Over 99-percent of the new cases, over 99-percent of the individuals that wind up in the hospital are those individuals that have not been vaccinated," said Jaberi.

If someone still isn't vaccinated in Hampton Roads, a clinic is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk. "We have a little bit more work to do. We're just beginning to see the impacts of the Delta variant. That's becoming a more dominant strain, so it's something we're going to have to keep an eye on. Fortunately, the case counts are fairly low looking at the eastern region," said Jaberi.

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