(WXYZ) — Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is expected to meet with government officials today to discuss the need for a possible COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.
Last week Pfizer announced plans to seek regulatory approval for a booster this August but health officials pushed back.
There was pushback from doctors and public health officials because so far, our vaccines are still providing excellent protection. And whether or not we’ll need boosters down the road, is a decision that the CDC and the FDA will make. And it’ll be a decision based on solid scientific evidence.
Now Pfizer says that they have data that indicates immunity is declining in vaccinated people over time, especially the elderly. But that data has not been shared yet.
So today’s meeting is really a courtesy meeting. And it allows Pfizer to brief government officials on why they feel a booster shot may be necessary.
Now I want to emphasize that vaccinated folks should not panic. Booster shots are not needed now and federal guidance is not expected to change following this meeting. As I said, data shows our vaccines are working. And that it's mostly unvaccinated folks who get severely ill and end up hospitalized.
Question: Now there is concern over clusters of unvaccinated people in the US. There are 5 specific clusters, can you tell us where they are and how this puts the entire US at risk?
The five clusters are mostly found in eight states. They start in Georgia and stretch all the way to Texas. They mostly sprawl across the southeast but also include parts of the Midwest.
Now here’s why this is a huge concern. There are over 15 million Americans living in these cluster areas. And a significant number of them are not vaccinated. In fact, only 27.9% are vaccinated.
This, unfortunately, leaves them just as vulnerable as they were back in December 2020. So it would be no surprise to me to see very high transmission rates in these hotspots. And not only will lots of people get sick, but these hotspots can become breeding grounds for the virus to mutate.
With mutation comes the risk that the virus will learn how to evade our vaccines. Or cause problems for those who are vaccinated. So this is why I will continue to encourage folks to get vaccinated. They don’t just protect you, they will also help protect your loved ones and the communities around you. And they’ll help keep variants from developing.
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