Fourth Booster: There is now data that giving an identical forth shot of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine offers little protection beyond the third booster vaccine dose in immune competent individuals.
Previously I suggested caution with accepting the news articles out of Israel arguing for a forth shot base on very preliminary data. This caution was based on the scientific basis of how “booster” vaccines work.
While the efficacy of the current three dose regimen to prevent serious illness remains impressive, it may be that sometime in the future a new vaccine for COVID-19 may be necessary. But certainly that time is not now.
Omicron Dynamics in the US: Omicron infections continue to decline in the US on the east coast and in several areas where the variant first was identified. Infections are declining rapidly but remain very high. Deaths continue at consistent levels despite the massive number of infections, and are a trailing indicator of the omicron wave.
Of interest, omicron now appears to have been present in the NYC when the it was first reported in South Africa. This suggest that efforts to protect the US by restricting travel were unlikely to be effective.
Diagnosis of COVID-19: Much has been made about the federal government’s almost random distribution of rapid tests for COVID-19. However, but by the time those test kits arrive it isn’t clear there would be a good use for them.
It would seem to be of better use to have these kits available at schools or other sites where testing is necessary. This is truly an important need in health care settings where unvaccinated individuals are screened for infections, given the potential for serious disease in these individuals and the need for early treatment with monoclonal antibody or antiviral drugs.
Vaccinated individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 probably should just presume they are infected at this point. Coupled with the reduced isolation requirements from the CDC, the control of infection is pretty simplified. Asymptomatic individuals should not be testing regardless.
Remember; February will be better and this summer will be great. Let’s hang in until then.