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Local health leaders prepare for booster shot approval

The CDC recommended Wednesday that all Americans who received a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine receive a booster shot 8-months after their second shot.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The U.S Food and Drug Administration will once again decide whether to approve or deny a plan pitched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A plan to vaccinate millions of Americans a third time.

The White House COVID team recommended during a Wednesday press conference, that Pfizer and Moderna recipients should also receive a booster shot eight months after their last dose. 

The team cited the Delta Variant's ability to circumvent vaccinated individuals, causing infection but still protecting against serious illness. This waning protection was exclusive to the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, with an ongoing study still looking at the Johnson & Johnson single-dose shot.

"It's just another day in the office where we will continue our endeavor to vaccinate as many residents as possible," said Cattaraugus County Health Director Dr. Kevin Watkins.

Instead of the unvaccinated, where most of the focus has been lately, Watkins said he expects a shift to this new category, third dose recipients, sometime next month. U.S. Surgeon Dr. Vivek Murthy said Wednesday, they plan to start the program the week of September 20, 2021.

Watkins said he expects getting a third dose will be easier than the first two, mostly because early issues with supply have been eliminated. Not to mention, thousands of vaccine locations now exist, that didn't during early distribution, like pharmacies.

"I think you can probably expect that your response to the next shot will be about what you had before, or perhaps less. I doubt that it will be more," said Dr. Nancy Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at the University at Buffalo.

Nielsen advised getting a third dose eight months after your second dose or even a few days or weeks beyond it. Getting it sooner she said may not lead to the desired immune response.

"Dr. Fauci presented that your antibodies are going to go up at least 10 fold when you get the booster. We have plenty of vaccine and hopefully, it won't be a frantic race to get it and we're going to stay protected," she said.