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The U.S. made a big mistake when it comes to COVID-19, expert says

Was federal government’s messaging on booster shots too confusing?

A Utah resident gets a third COVID-19 vaccination.
Bountiful resident Blaine Gardner, who is immunocompromised, gets a third COVID-19 vaccination at the South Davis Senior Activity Center in Bountiful on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. Dr. Scott Gottlieb said over the weekend that the U.S. has done a poor job with its messaging about the coronavirus booster shot.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

The United States government might have made a huge misstep when it comes to the pandemic, Dr. Scott Gottlieb said over the weekend.

Gottlieb said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the government has done a poor job with its messaging about the coronavirus booster shot.

  • “I think the confusing message around the boosters may end up being one of the biggest missed opportunities in this pandemic. We now see very clear evidence of declining vaccine effectiveness over time,” he said. “There’s different reasons why that may be the case, but the trend is unmistakable.”

Gottlieb said anyone who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot should be getting one right now because immunity might be dropping.

  • “This is the fastest way that we can increase the total immunity in the population because someone who has an old vaccine that may only have 50% of its effectiveness left, they go out and get a booster, they restore 95% effectiveness based on the data that we’ve seen within a matter of days,” said Gottlieb.

Indeed, experts have offered mixed messages on the booster shots, saying some people don’t need them right away since they’re doing their job of stopping hospitalization and death.

Rich Lakin, Utah Department of Health immunization director, told the Deseret News that it’s important for people to read up on the booster shots to make sure they’re eligible for it.

  • “I’m sure there’s some confusion,” Lakin told the Deseret News. “People need to take the responsibility to kind of educate themselves, also. There’s just too many people to make sure everybody understands.”

Right now, COVID-19 booster shots are available to people who:

  • Got their second dose of the vaccine from Pfizer, Moderna, or single shot from Johnson & Johnson.
  • Are at least 65 years old OR are 18 or older and live in long-term care settings.
  • Live in a long-term care facility or have a specified medical condition that could make them more likely to be severely ill from COVID-19, such as cancer, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney, liver or lung disease, obesity, pregnancy, HIV, organ transplant, smoking or substance abuse and more.
  • Work in a high risk environment such as health care, first responders, schools, correctional facilities and more.