‘We’re in a very good situation’: Health experts weigh in on new COVID-19 booster guidance

Both the CDC and the SCDHEC recommend a second booster for certain groups, as of this week.
Both the CDC and the SCDHEC recommend a second booster for certain groups, as of this week.(Storyblocks)
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 5:18 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2022 at 6:55 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the CDC is recommending a second booster shot for certain immunocompromised groups. This comes as positive tests in the state are coming back at a little over 2 percent, according to data from DHEC.

Health experts with the Medical University of South Carolina say for relatively healthy people there’s no rush to get boosted again.

“I think people need to consider their own risk tolerance,” Dr. Michael Sweat with MUSC said. “In other words, if you’re really worried about even getting infected even though you’re maybe not going to end up in the hospital, maybe the fourth dose is a good option for you.”

Currently, DHEC is recommending these groups get a fourth shot:

“DHEC recommends a second booster for those 12 and up who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. A second booster should come at least four months after the first one. Additionally, DHEC recommends those 18 and up who have received two doses of the Janssen vaccine (an initial vaccination and booster) receive a second booster of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) four months after their Janssen booster dose.

Those who are 50 and older who are not immunocompromised may choose to get a fourth dose, and there may be some benefit to waiting for an increase in COVID-19 levels to occur, so the booster doesn’t wane ahead of a potential spike. Those who have questions about when to get a second booster should talk to their primary healthcare provider.”

With these recommendations, Sweat says some people might want to wait. He says the pharmaceutical industry is working on omicron-specific booster shots right now.

Despite the state and the tri-county area especially seeing low positive cases, Sweat says being vigilant is still the safest option.

“I do think it’s smart to be careful. Who should worry are a couple types of people. Unvaccinated people are 97 times more likely to get serious illness, end up in the hospital or die from this,” Sweat says.

He also says immunocompromised people should be careful.

DHEC’s guidance can be found here.

To find out if you’re eligible, head to the CDC’s website.

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