NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - As the coronavirus continues to cause serious COVID-19 disease, especially down South where hospital ICUs are filling up, we are hearing a lot about a possible third booster COVID vaccine shot.
The question is why haven't federal health officials approved a third shot to provide more COVID protection.
CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez explains we may not actually need one - at least, not now.
When it comes to vaccination rates and protection from COVID, you could argue that the U.S. is a tale of two nations - at least when you look at those rates state by state.
Connecticut is more than 95% fully vaccinated for its most vulnerable citizens, those 65 and older. While in Alabama, barely over a third of those 18-64 have received both shots.
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And now, the highly infectious Delta variant is widely circulating, there's much talk of needing a third show of the present vaccines to provide better protection.
So why aren't public health officials at the FDA and CDC looking into that so-called booster shot? Actually, they are. It's just that, according to the chief medical officer at Yale New Have Health, that's not the best expenditure of our vaccine efforts.
"We know from good data from the United Kingdom that was just published about a week ago that the Pfizer vaccine is about 80% protective against specifically the Delta variant," Dr. Thomas Balcezak said. "The third shot is not going to confer as much population protection, anywhere near as much population protection, as getting the primary series into folks who haven't been vaccinated yet."
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Israel has approved a third booster shot precisely because that country has an extremely high, full vaccination rate and they are focusing those boosters on their most vulnerable citizens, those who are immunocompromised, and those over age 60 because their immunity will wane with time.
As long as there are large pockets of unvaccinated people, there are massive numbers of virus particles replicating and mutating into new variants, some of which could be even more dangerous than Delta.
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