INDIANAPOLIS — The approval of the booster shot for all adults comes as several states across the country are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, including several states in the Midwest, like Indiana.
More than 3,900 Hoosiers have recently tested positive for coronavirus. That's a 64 percent increase in the last two weeks. The positivity rate is around 9.6 percent in the state, which is nearly double Indiana’s goal to stay closer to five percent.
Indiana saw a similar increase in COVID-19 cases around this time last year before the holidays. Experts said this year, some of those cases are breakthrough infections as the effectiveness of the vaccine wanes, but still offer protection against severe symptoms.
Through noon on Thursday, Nov. 18, a total of 66,428 Hoosiers who had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have since tested positive for the virus, with 1,329 hospitalizations of breakthrough patients. A total of 714 fully vaccinated individuals have died from COVID-19 complications, or 0.021% of fully vaccinated individuals. The average age of those breakthrough patients who died of COVID-19 is 78 years old, the state reported.
“Vaccines are designed to not only prevent infection, which they do, but they are also designed perhaps more importantly to prevent bad outcomes from happening,” said Dr. Shaun Grannis of the Regenstrief Institute.
With the approval of Moderna and Pfizer booster shots, this means anyone who received their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine six months ago is now eligible for the extra dose. According to the panel, the third dose is strongly recommended for Americans 50 and older. The previous recommendation was for those 65 and older or at high risk.
Johnson & Johnson’s booster shot is already available to anyone two months after their initial dose. Officials also say you can mix and match.
Right now, more than 654,000 Hoosiers have already gotten vaccine boosters.
“We are up to about 20 percent of the vaccinated population now has a booster, which I hope that those numbers, that trend continues,” said Dr. Grannis.
If booster shots are approved for all adults, what will constitute someone as “fully vaccinated”? The CDC said it’s still not counting booster shots, but some health leaders say people must have a booster shot in order to be considered "fully protected.”
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