(KRON) – Hopes that those under 50 could join the ranks of those eligible to get a second booster shot for COVID-19 may be on the back burner. Reports Monday suggest that’s because federal health officials are hoping Pfizer and Moderna will have a new BA.5-specific booster ready to go in late September.
“I think it’s highly unlikely and it just feels far more likely as we’ve looked at booster rollouts previously, that, first of all, they won’t hit their date for approval and dissemination,” said Dr. Bob Wachter, the chair of UCSF’s Department of Medicine.
Dr. Wachter says not only is it unlikely new boosters will be ready to roll out in late September, but even if they are ready, those under 50 will be at the back of the line, behind older americans.
“That group will have their vaccines available to them more likely in November and December, rather than September, and that means another four or five months of vulnerability if they don’t get the second booster now.” Wachter said.
That’s why Wachter still supports the idea of allowing those under 50 to get the second booster now.
“I think if it were me and I was under 50, I would at least want access to it because it would restore some of my protection that has waned, both against getting an infection and certainly not a guarantee I won’t get infected. But it restores some of the protection but most importantly, it very definitely restores your protection against getting a severe case, hospitalization and death,” Wachter said.
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It’s unknown when federal health officials will make a final decision on that second booster.