Roll Up Your Sleeve and Take a Deep Breath, a New COVID Booster Shot Has Arrived
Another approaching autumn, another flu season. And now that we live in a post-pandemic world, it's time for another spicy
Another approaching autumn, another flu season. And now that we live in a post-pandemic world, it's time for another spicy season of COVID.
Luckily, ahead of the Fall sick season, the FDA has just approved a booster shot that targets the Omicron variant of COVID, which has been ripping through the country for months now.
COVID Omicron Booster is Here
It's time for another jab. Those who are keeping up with their COVID boosters can start making plans now, because the FDA has just approved another COVID booster. This one targets Omicron, a wildfire variant that ripped through the US with less serious but far more virulent swiftness.
PBS reports, "The U.S. on Wednesday authorized its first update to COVID-19 vaccines, booster doses that target today’s most common omicron strain. Shots could begin within days.
The move by the Food and Drug Administration tweaks the recipe of shots made by Pfizer and rival Moderna that already have saved millions of lives. The hope is that the modified boosters will blunt yet another winter surge — and help tamp down the BA.5 omicron relative that continues to spread widely.
'These updated boosters present us with an opportunity to get ahead' of the next COVID-19 wave, said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf."
By adding a more specific variant, experts hope that people will have more cross-variant protection.
It really provides the broadest opportunity for protection.
The roll-out could be soon, but the CDC has to create their recommendations as to who should receive the shot. There is some question as to whether vaccine-weary people will even line up for the booster, as the grim death tolls and non-stop news coverage of the pandemic fade in recent memory.
Is COVID Leaving Behind a Sicker Population?
But even though many seem to think the pandemic is over, it's far from behind us.
And even if you ignore the ebb and flow of cases and deaths with each variant and wave, there's always the reality of long COVID and the fact that the virus seems to be leaving in its wake a sicker population overall.
Financial Times reports, "When Dr David Strain encountered a 64-year-old patient on his ward round, the British geriatrician had a bleak epiphany.
Less than six months earlier he had treated the man for Covid-19. Now, his deterioration was painful to witness. “He came in with a stroke and really bad delirium, a precursor of dementia,” Strain says. “I saw the patient, recognised him [and] recognised the fact that his brain had dramatically aged.”
By unsettling coincidence, the same day Strain, who is based at the University of Exeter in England’s west country, had read a newly published study which identified significant brain shrinkage in a cohort of about 400 people aged between 51 and 81 who had recovered from coronavirus."
Strain told Financial Times that he noticed a rise in certain conditions over the course of the pandemic, but initially brushed it off as people who were unwilling or unable to access health care during the trying times. However, he has since changed his mind. Strain likens it to an inverse of what happened in the '80's and '90's when respiratory illness dropped dramatically as people stopped smoking in large numbers for the first time since the start of commercial tobacco production en masse.
The level of damage that’s been done to population health [during Covid], it would be as if everybody suddenly decided to take up smoking in one go.
Financial Times adds, "A Financial Times analysis of data from the UK’s NHS, one of the world’s richest health data sets, showed significant rises in deaths from heart disease since the start of the pandemic in all but the very oldest age groups. In the 40-64 age group, heart attack deaths increased 15 per cent in 2021 compared with 2019.
In February, meanwhile, an analysis of more than 150,000 records from the national healthcare databases at the US Department of Veterans Affairs suggested that even some people who had not been seriously ill with Covid had an increased risk of cardiovascular problems for at least a year afterwards."
The diseases rising are lifelong conditions, and worrying health experts around the world. Some doctors and researchers caution that it's too early to draw a solid conclusion, but the trends are highly suggestive.
And for those who are lucky enough to have avoided a COVID infection thus far (you should probably play the lottery), avoiding it by keeping up on your boosters may save you from a lifetime health condition your peers are already signed up for.