New research shows expanding access to COVID-19 booster shots will significantly reduce hospitalizations and unnecessary deaths.
Trebling the rate of revaccination from 770,000 doses per day to 2.3 million could reduce expected COVID-19 hospitalizations by more than 35% and deaths by nearly 30% through April, according to new data from the Commonwealth Foundation. While hospitalizations are expected to peak at about 30,000 per day towards the end of January, tripling boosters would bring the peak down to 21,000 and significantly shorten the duration of the spike, the study found.
The researchers wrote that it would bring much-needed relief to understaffed hospitals and their workers.
“Given the speed at which the omicron is spreading, we could save about 63,000 lives over the next four months and prevent nearly 600,000 hospitalizations by tripling the booster vaccinations,” said Eric Schneider, senior vice president of policy and research at Commonwealth. “There is a sense of hopelessness in the omicron, but since the booster rejuvenates immunity to COVID-19 for several days, it could have a big impact,” he said.
Only 35% of American adults have received booster shots. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention… Children have limited access to booster shots: as of Thursday, only children aged 12-17 are eligible for the vaccine and must receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The delay in taking boosters by adults is not resolved; this is mainly due to a lack of awareness and uncertainty, Schneider said.
The researchers write that a significant increase in revaccination is achievable. The United States injected over 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines daily for nearly three months last year. The federal government has already added 10,000 vaccination sites and launched mobile vaccination clinics through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“There have been attempts to spread the word, but I don’t know that boosters have received the same level of attention and consistent messaging as the vaccine,” Schneider said. “The messages about boosters and their benefits are less clear than they might be.”
Health systems are expanding booster coverage and messaging. For example, Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health launched a mobile vaccination program that delivered more than 7,000 doses of vaccine in parks, community centers and schools, said Dr. Sandra Brooks, chief physician at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. The nonprofit health care system also coordinated community forums to answer questions about the vaccine.
“Recently, we have focused on ensuring continued access to boosters, primary vaccination needs and vaccination clinics in local schools,” Brooks wrote in an email. “Jefferson is continuing this work in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and our many community partners, and we plan to expand education and access to booster shots.”
In addition to reducing the severity of COVID-19 waves, boosters are helping to slow the evolution of options, health officials said. Booster doses are needed to slow the spread of the virus and protect people from hospitalization and death, ”said Dr. Craig Robbins, medical director of the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute’s Clinical Information Services and Education Center in Oakland, California. news release…
Many hospitals are overcrowded with COVID-19 patients. While providers are better prepared for the latest surge, there are fewer nurses, doctors, and other personnel available. Healthcare providers say the vast majority of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.
“This is different from other waves. It’s more of a talent crisis, ”said Stephanie Connors, chief operating officer of Jefferson Health. More than 60% of COVID-19 patients in the healthcare system have been hospitalized with a different primary diagnosis, she said. “I am not saying that omicron is not clinically relevant, but it is spreading very quickly. The staffing of hospitals is very important. “