BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — As the delta variant continues to remain the dominant strain of COVID-19, local health experts are continuing to put a focus on prevention.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends booster shots to those who are immunocompromised, since they are at risk for a prolonged version of the illness.
The variant is raging over the United States, and doctors and health experts are heavily encouraging those who are vaccinated to get a third dose eight months after they have been fully vaccinated through the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
7 Eyewitness News' Pheben Kassahun spoke with University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences professor, Dr. Thomas Russo about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following a viewer's email:
Q: So, we had a viewer email which kind of what sparked this interest. So, the one that we got today was why are we saying that the booster is being recommended for those who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. What about those who received the Johnson & Johnson?
A: "To date, the booster for immunocompromised invidividals has only been recommended for those who have received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine because the FDA and the CDC has a reasonable body of data that administering that third dose will be safe and hopefully augment the level of immunity. There is still awaiting data on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine about the benefits of the second dose and hopefully, we'll have a recommendation for that group of individuals very soon."
"This group of individuals that are immunocompromised were up in the early stages to get vaccinated and at that time, most of the individuals received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, so only a minority of individuals that are immunicompromised have actually received the J&J vaccine."
Q: With that being said, do you think getting the booster shot is too soon? Do you think there should be a focus on those aren't vaccinated first, and then kind of think about the booster shot?Dr. Thomas
A: "We have plenty supply of vaccines at this point to go ahead and administer this third shot for the immunocompromised, as well as immunize those that have yet to receive the vaccine. There are no supply issues. It's really just an issue of both the will to ahead and getting this done."
According to the CDC, more than 168 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, which is about 51% of the country's population.
New York state sits among the top then states with the highest percentage of fully vaccinated people at number 10. The number of New York residents vaccinated tops 11.3 million. This represents about 58% of the state.
However, Dr. Russo said this will not suffice.