3 years after start of COVID pandemic, Atlanta area doctor urges not letting your guard down
ATLANTA (WUPA) -- As the COVID pandemic continues, and as the number of severe cases are dwindling, questions have been raised about whether COVID boosters are needed. A local doctor says you may not want to let your guard down.
Three years after the COVID pandemic hit Georgia, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline, and so do the number of people getting vaccinated. Fernando Berwig-Silva is among those who are convinced getting vaccines are still a good idea.
"People should protect themselves. There's the danger of always getting it and hurting people that are actually vulnerable to the thing, so getting the booster will not hurt you," he said.
Conversely, Atlanta resident Josiah Miller said he is skeptical, and is giving the notion of additional vaccines a hard pass.
"I know I'm not getting vaccinated again. It's just my moral ethic. That's my personal perspective," he said. "They keep telling us that, yeah, if you get this, it will help you, but that's what they were saying at the beginning as well. They gave us that COVID to fix COVID, and people were still dying from it regardless."
Piedmont Healthcare COVID Task Force Director Dr. Jayne Morgan said the outcome would have been much worse without the vaccines, including the bivalent booster released last September.
"It (the latest vaccine) is effective both against this proliferate Omicron family of multiple variants, and also the original variant," Morgan said. "We still have these variants emerging, and right now, we've got this XBB.1, this Kraken variant, and it's really responsible for about 90% of the (currently circulating) cases."
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows more than 18.5% of adolescents and just over 27.1% of adults have received a bivalent booster, since that vaccine was released in September 2022. The remaining more than 50% of individuals have not received the booster shot.
Morgan says the bivalent booster can prevent hospitalization and death.
"Human beings are a part of the life cycle of this virus. If we cannot remove ourselves from this life cycle, these variants continue to be a threat for years to come," she said.
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