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Lane County health experts weigh in on FDA booster shot decision

Dr. Luedtke said there are still a lot of things that need to be looked over before the booster shot can be approved for those 16 and older.

Posted: Sep 17, 2021 7:23 PM
Updated: Sep 17, 2021 7:27 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- A decision made by an advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration could allow people 65 and older to get a booster shot. 

KEZI 9 News spoke to local health officials about whether they agree with this decision. Dr. Patrick Luedtke with Lane County Public Health said he believes there is not enough data for him to be comfortable with full FDA approval of a booster shot for all. 

MORE: FDA's vaccine advisers meet to decide whether Americans need boosters

"The experts who are on the committee do not believe that there is enough data now to say we all need a booster, we all need a third dose for the COVID prevention. And frankly, I agree with that and you've probably heard me say it several times before, I don't think we have the data yet, so I think they made a good decision," said Luedtke. 

Luedtke said there are still a lot of things that need to be looked over before the booster shot can be approved for those 16 and older. 

He said there are a small number of cases of young males and young adults who got myocarditis -- or inflammation of the heart muscle -- after receiving their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most patients who get myocarditis respond well to medicine and rest. But Luedtke said because of this small number, he agrees with the advisory committee's decision. 

"We don't have enough data to say that it's the right thing so it was a good decision," said Luedtke. 

Luedtke also went into detail about what the differences between the booster shot and the third dose are. A third dose comes shortly after the first two, while a booster dose comes many months later.

"A booster dose is meant to do what that word says: something is waning and you need to increase it." Luedtke said.

A third dose is meant for people who still need a full response to the vaccine. 

"The science behind that is you need three doses in order to create the initial immunity. If that immunity wanes, then you need a booster dose to get it back up," said Luedtke. 

People like Reece Morgan, a Eugene resident who is immunocompromised, is eligible for a third dose, and might also need a booster shot. 

"I have a problem with my immune system. I have organs that don't work properly. So if I could get something that could help me stay healthy, and help my family stay healthy, then 100% I'd get it," said Morgan. 

As far as a timeline for Lane County, people 16 and older will have to wait to roll up their sleeves for a third time, since the FDA did not approve the shot for this age group. 

If you still want to get vaccinated, Lane County Public Health has a list of vaccine clinics where you can get your shot. People who are at a higher risk are able to get a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. 

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