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Michigan doctor says people will likely have to get COVID-19 booster at least once a year

Virus Outbreak Pfizer Booster
Posted at 2:13 PM, Nov 23, 2021

(WXYZ) — As we head into winter, health leaders say the booster shot is very necessary to help protect Michiganders. One University of Michigan doctor says, if you can get it now, don’t put it off.

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“I have not got my booster yet, but I plan on getting it in the next week or two,” said Kyle Richards, who is fully vaccinated.

Like Richards, people are getting ready to roll up their sleeves again to get boosted.

Jynx Messacare, a local mother, already has received her COVID-19 booster.

"To be safe, keep my family members safe, keep my kids safe,” she said.

But others aren’t interested in the vaccine. When asked if he'd had his first shot, local resident Mr. Scott replied, "None! And I've never tested positive."

He says he doesn't feel like there are enough facts to prove it really works. Health experts disagree and say the vaccine and booster work.

"We think this is going to protect you through the winter season at least," said Dr. Arnold Monto, University of Michigan professor of epidemiology and global health at the School of Public Health.

According to the CDC, if you received the Pzifer or Moderna vaccine, you may get your booster at least 6 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series.

And if you got the Johnson and Johnson shot, you should get the booster at least 2 months after your shot.

"If you got the J&J vaccine, you really need a booster cause it wasn’t quiet as effective as the MRNA vaccines," said Dr. Monto.

Breakdown from the CDC

Dr. Monto is also the chair of a vaccine committee that provides advice to the FDA on the authorization of vaccines.

He says to think of the booster as the flu shot. He believes people will have to get it at least once year, depending on the different variants.

“I don’t think it's going to be every six months. I can’t speak for ... some people think it’s going to be 3 and done. Most our work suggests it wont be," he said.

When it comes to mixing and matching the vaccine, Dr. Monto said it's OK, but that it’s easier to just stick with Pfizer or Moderna if that was your first series of shots.

"The only down side that is more than very, very rare are the kinds of side effects people have experienced before," he said.

He says the biggest downside is what we are seeing across the state.

"Who is winding up in the hospital, who is winding up in the intensive care unit? It’s the unvaccinated," said Dr. Monto.

In a recent statement from the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, almost 4,000 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, including 784 in intensive care units.

"This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated right now.”

As of last week, more than 1.1 million people in the state have their booster. To date more than 5.6 million Michiganders have at least their first shot.

“I don’t know how we are possibly going to turn that 30% of the country around that just abjectly refuse to accept that this is the right thing to do," said Richards.

To find a booster shot in your area, click here.