September 15 (WNN)—— Experts said on Wednesday that President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine authorization for federal workers and certain private sector employees should help unvaccinated people get vaccinated in the United States, and this effort is more important than step-up injections.
However, they said that some public health experts are still concerned that these regulations may “further polarize an already polarized environment”, which may jeopardize more mature vaccination requirements, such as infant vaccines.
“Until the world is vaccinated, we will not stop Delta variants or COVID-19,” Dr. Anna Durbin, director of the Immunization Research Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a Zoom conference call with reporters on Wednesday.
“Data on the need for booster injections is still emerging, but before we consider booster injections, we really need to focus on vaccinating people who have not been vaccinated,” she said.
She added that the plan announced by Biden on Thursday should be of great help in increasing the national vaccination rate.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Tuesday, 63% of people in the country (ie, 12 years and older) have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
This means that they have been vaccinated with Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or two doses of one-time Johnson & Johnson products.
Despite this, Durbin’s colleague Daniel Salmon said on the conference call that more people are still required to be fully vaccinated to infect the Delta variant and that the pandemic is under control.
Salmon, director of the Johns Hopkins University Institute of Vaccine Safety, said: “We have seen cases reappear and the Delta variant has the advantage.”
“We have the tools we need, including vaccines, but we need high vaccine coverage” to end the pandemic, he said.
He added that this is especially true as the 2021-22 winter flu season approaches. Although the country’s flu season was mild last year, schools were closed, and many people were wearing masks, this winter may change.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded more than 126,000 new virus cases nationwide on Monday and nearly 1,000 deaths, most of which involved the more infectious Delta variant.
However, the agency estimates that so far, less than 1% (less than 150,000) of fully vaccinated people have developed so-called “breakthrough” infections, which means that despite their full vaccinations, they still have COVID- 19 symptoms.
In addition, the symptoms of breakthrough infections are “mostly mild to moderate,” Durbin said, adding that “vaccine is effective for serious diseases.”
In the past, salmon has expressed concerns about mandatory vaccine requirements and warned against “further polarization”[ing] An environment that has been polarized,” he said.
In this case, he is worried that the new mission announced by Biden may trigger a broader anti-vaccination campaign, which will jeopardize more mature vaccination efforts, such as routine child vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella.
According to data from millions of recipients, the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available, free, and safe and effective. But Salmon said that the urgency of the pandemic requires “doing things that have not usually been done before,” such as vaccine regulations.
Durbin said it remains to be seen whether these same regulations will apply to a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which will depend on whether the country has contained the pandemic.
Most studies have shown that the immunity provided by vaccines can last for six months or more, or even longer.
Based on these data, many experts, including the World Health Organization, recommend not to provide booster doses until more countries get the vaccine.
Biden said in August that a booster dose will be provided to all fully vaccinated people from later this month, although the government appears to have withdrawn from the program in recent weeks.
Durbin said: “If we cannot control the pandemic, we may need to consider boosting injections every one to two years.”