KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A COVID-19 booster shot is likely to be recommended, according to a University of Kansas Health System doctor, though the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have the final say on whether Americans will need additional doses of the vaccine.
"We just don't have the full data and the full data analysis to truly say, 'Yes, it's safe, you can go get additional dosing," said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Kansas Health System.
Hawkinson already is fielding questions about the possibility of fully vaccinated individuals having to get jabbed once again.
"From what we have seen, with these vaccines, that they are truly safe, I believe there probably would be little to no harm done in that, that it probably is safe," Hawkinson said.
The observation comes one day after Pfizer released data that a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine can “strongly” boost protection against the delta variant.
The company expects to apply for emergency authorization for booster shots next month.
"We've been in talks with them about what they're seeing with regard to their studies related to boosters," Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General said on Wednesday. "But at this point I want to be very clear, people do not need to go out and get a booster shot."
One question surrounding booster shots is who would be eligible to receive one.
"We know that there are certain patients, for instance, blood cancer patients who don't mount a good response," Hawkinson said.
Israel already has administered boosters to 2,000 vaccinated people who have compromised immune systems "with no severe adverse events. And now we're rolling out a national third dose campaign," Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennett said Thursday.
Starting Sunday, Israel will offer boosters to those 60 years old and older.
In the United States, some people aren't waiting.
"The New York Times" reported that people are going to "local pharmacies, other states or even other countries — anywhere where there is no record of them having been vaccinated — to get extra doses."
In the Kansas City area, a representative from the Cass County Health Department told KSHB 41 News that Missouri's COVID-19 vaccination records are uploaded to a state database that any vaccinator can access.
"If the individual was vaccinated in the state of Missouri (with a few exceptions) we can see how many doses they have had and when," the representative said.
In Kansas, the Johnson County Health Department said that people interested in being vaccinated "are asked to compete paperwork, and it is up to the person to fill it out truthfully."
"If there were a shortage, and people are walking in trying to do this, I think that would be more of an ethical issue," Hawkinson said.
The Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department said that its director recommends people who have chronic conditions consult their doctor "to advise them if they should get a second booster."
"The FDA and CDC have not come out with recommendation on this yet, but if you're in these high risk categories, check with your doctor," the department said.