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Where the COVID-19 pandemic is heading in 2022 and how a booster shot can help


December 01, 2021 Posted in: Blogs , English

 

Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, some information may not be up to date. Stay informed by following information from your local officials and by visiting the CDC website.

After more than 20 months of living in a world of lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine information, we can begin to see hope for an end as more people increase their immunity against the COVID-19 virus. The U.S. is nearing the total population needed to reach herd immunity. However, immunity from a single one- or two-dose vaccine can wane over time. Booster shots are a good way to stay ahead of the illness and prevent those more severe symptoms. Let’s see what a future of living with COVID-19 looks like.

What does the COVID-19 pandemic look like for 2022?

What have we seen over the past year? Health care officials announce lower COVID-19 cases, people relax safety guidelines, and then a new variant pops up. As we learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines and their effects on preventing or slowing new variants, the U.S. can begin transitioning from a pandemic to an endemic disease state. 

What is endemic?

Endemic is defined as the constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent within a geographic area. Endemic diseases include the flu, tuberculosis, and various types of pneumonia.

Basically, this means COVID-19 will always be present but not in catastrophic numbers. This movement to an endemic-level phase is a good sign for the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. as it marks moving away from a pandemic emergency mode with a high rate of hospitalizations.

This transition means that the pandemic will not end with the disappearance of the virus, but rather with enough people gaining immunity against it. As more people build protection against COVID-19, there will be less transmission and fewer COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.

Do COVID-19 vaccine booster shots work?

Before the discovery of the omicron variant, data from the CDC had shown a decrease in COVID-19 infections. The previous downturn in cases is primarily due to more of the population getting the COVID-19 vaccine. However, recent data suggests that vaccination becomes less effective over time, creating a need for booster shots to increase our immune response against the virus.

Who can get a COVID-19 booster shot?

The most recent CDC recommendation calls for everyone 18 years and older to get their COVID-19 booster shot. This recommendation also allows you to mix and match brands when it comes to your booster shot, whether you originally received your vaccine from Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson. Speak with your primary care physician about which boosters are available for you. 

Preparing to live with the COVID-19 virus

We all have a different meaning of what it looks like to live with the COVID-19 virus. Dr. Paul Klotman, president and CEO of Baylor College of Medicine, provides some valuable resources to determine what that looks like for you.

  • Online COVID-19 news resources. The CDC and New York Times websites both provide up-to-date information around happenings of the virus in the U.S. and follow what is going on in the rest of the world.
  • Vaccines and booster shots. The U.S. is gradually climbing toward the number of people vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

As we prepare for a post-pandemic life, we can’t forget that we haven’t reached the endemic stage yet. Dr. Richina Bicette, medical director of emergency medicine at the McNair Campus at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, offers her opinion while we move toward this goal.

“We saw this happen in June over the summer, when we declared the pandemic to be over a bit too early. We decided that those who are vaccinated need not wear masks, which turned into everyone not wearing masks, and then, subsequently, the spike and the Delta wave followed.”

With the appearance of the omicron variant, we still have some steps to take before COVID-19 transitions into an endemic disease. Speak with a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician via a virtual or in-person appointment about COVID-19 booster shots and other things you can do in our efforts against the virus. Together, we can do this.

Sources:

Becker's Hospital Review | As the pandemic phases out, how do we talk about it?

CDC | COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

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