Health Experts Discuss COVID-19 Booster Shots

Cropped Tim Reckmann / CC BY 2.0

ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Every day, more and more hospital beds fill up with COVID-19 patients in our region and around the country. But could a third shot keep vaccinated people out of those beds?

Dr. Gregory Beard, the Medical Director of Trauma and Critical Care and Vice President of Medical Affairs of UPMC Hamot explained, “Vaccination of both the primary vaccination and if and when the booster doses become available is critical to prevent illness, hospitalization and to help prevent overwhelming our health care system both in this country and across the world.”

Dr. Beard said the booster shot is important because vaccines weaken over time and studies show extra doses boost antibody levels.

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Howard Nadworny agrees that a third shot would be helpful to those vaccinated that are concerned about the spread of the virus. But said, it’s even more important to vaccinate the unvaccinated.

“The major challenge is vaccinating the unvaccinated people as possible that would give the greatest benefit to reduce the need for future doses.”, said Dr. Nadworny.

He said unvaccinated people pose the biggest problem. They’re spreading the virus far more than people with two doses.

“Much of what we are seeing is preventable, could have been prevented with much more widespread vaccination”, concluded Dr. Nadworny.

At this time, UPMC Hamot is only vaccinating those who have compromised immune systems with a third shot, but that could change if the government comes out with another directive.


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