On April 18, 2023, United States regulators cleared another COVID-19 booster dose for older adults and people with weakened immune systems so they can shore up protection this spring.
My primary focus in my writings on this blog in broad terms is the economy. The economy includes almost everything relating to life choices, which most certainly includes choices that pertain to the physical and mental health of all living beings (people, pets, wild animals, plants, and even what is on the dirt of the land, what is below the land, and what is in the air above the land).
This article is about COVID which is a disease that has contributed to worldwide inflation. COVID is not considered to be a pandemic now, and everyone everywhere – almost in the whole world – is tired of COVID… and most are living as if it is not still with us. But, unfortunately, it is still with us! Less people are still getting it, and less people are still dying from it. But there are those among us who are still getting this very contagious disease… and there are still some who are dying from it or dying of complications from it.
And the health of populations around the world has, is, and will continue to impact the economies of the world….
From Health & Economics by Kaavat Venkat (Spring 2021)“When we first view healthcare, we examine how the economy has benefited us. Studies show that an increase in income is correlated with better health… When new treatments come out to the public, the people who can access it first will be the people who are better off. This causes a divide between classes of people, which increases healthcare inequality, which is when one group of people in an economy is in much worse health than another group. In the United States, health inequality is heavily correlated with income inequality….”
In full disclosure, I am totally up-to-date with my COVID vaccines….I believe in them! I took my second Moderna Bivalent Covid booster shot on April 11, 2023, which was just a few days before the FDA approved the same booster to be given to those over 65 and who are immunocompromised. I took the first Moderna Bivalent Covid booster in September 2022.
So, how was I able to get the second Bivalent booster before it was actually approved for me? And why would I want to do that? Should I not listen to the FDA and CDC recommendations, when I have been adamant about following the recommendations of the FDA and CDC regarding COVID precautions since COVID became a pandemic in the United States back in early 2020? I answer those questions in this article. So continue reading….
When one receives a vaccine of any kind anywhere in Georgia (where I live), it goes into a Georgia only database. Because I took my first booster in Florida, the Georgia database did not show that I had ever received the Bivalent booster. Therefore, I was able to get the second Bivalent booster before it was actually approved for me. Because I did not show up in the Georgia database as ever getting a Bivalent booster, the nurse who gave me the second dose on April 11 thought is was my first Bivalent booster.
I knew when I got that second booster on April 11 that getting a booster every six months eventually would be recommended for the elderly. And though I cringe at putting myself in that group called elderly, I am there. It is also my belief that the FDA (and CDC) most often lag in their recommendations because they take precautions to the extreme. (I read and study a lot, and I am pretty well-read on Covid.)
To add to all of that, various studies have found that the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines is less in older populations and effectiveness for everyone decreases with time (Sullivan, 2022; Gorvett, 2022).
For now, we all must go on what is known at this time. And for now, what I have been doing so far has worked for me because I am one of the few people I know who has not gotten Covid. To this date, I have kept as current as possible on vaccines, have avoided going into buildings and homes other than my own without a mask, and have avoided crowds as much as possible.
As Covid evolves and mutates into different versions over time, scientists and doctors who know a lot more than I ever will know about diseases will continue learning more and more about the disease. And I am sure, we will get new recommendations from the FDA and CDC as Covid evolves and mutates and more is known about it, how to prevent and/or treat it, and how to test for it.
For now, everyone has decisions to make for what is best for them and for their families. Here, I have told you what I am doing, which may or may not be what will work for you and your situation. If you are interested in more information about Covid and the vaccines, see the references below. The vaccines are explained with the most clarity in the article Is the new Covid-19 booster for you? Our medical analyst explains by Katia Hetter of CNN (2023).
- CDC recommends second COVID-19 bivalent booster for older adults, immunocompromised : AHA News. American Hospital Association | AHA News. (2023, April 20). Retrieved April 23, 2023, from https://www.aha.org/news/headline/2023-04-20-cdc-recommends-second-covid-19-bivalent-booster-older-adults-immunocompromised
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, April 13). Stay up to date with covid-19 vaccines including boosters. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 23, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html
- Gorvett, Z. (2022, February 24). Covid-19: How effective is a third vaccine dose? BBC Future. Retrieved April 30, 2023, from https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210916-covid-19-how-effective-is-a-third-vaccine-dose
- Hetter, K. (2023, April 26). Is the new covid-19 booster for you? our medical analyst explains. CNN. Retrieved April 30, 2023, from https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/26/health/coronavirus-bivalent-booster-vaccine-pandemic-health-wellness/index.html
- Katella, K. (2023, April 21). Should you get an additional COVID-19 bivalent booster? Yale Medicine. Retrieved April 23, 2023, from https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/should-you-get-a-covid-19-bivalent-booster (Quote from article: “How is this COVID booster different from the previous one? It’s not. These boosters are the same as the bivalent boosters first offered last fall. As with the previous boosters, these are mRNA vaccines, offered by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, that target two virus strains: the original SARS-CoV-2 and Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.“)
- McGinley, L., & Sun, L. H. (2023, April 19). FDA backs second Omicron Booster for high-risk groups. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 23, 2023, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2023/04/18/covid-booster-older-americans/
- Neergaard, L. (2023, April 18). FDA clears second bivalent COVID-19 booster for older adults. Time. Retrieved April 23, 2023, from https://time.com/6272670/bivalent-covid-19-booster-seniors/(Quote from article: U.S. regulators on Tuesday (April 18, 2023) cleared another COVID-19 booster dose for older adults and people with weak immune systems so they can shore up protection this spring — while taking steps to make coronavirus vaccinations simpler for everyone else. The Food and Drug Administration said anyone 65 or older can opt to roll up their sleeves again as long as it’s been at least four months since their first dose of the so-called bivalent vaccine that targets Omicron strains.)
- Sullivan, K. (2022, November 30). How effective are the bivalent boosters? CDC shares new real-world data on updated shots. Health. Retrieved April 30, 2023, from https://www.health.com/how-effective-bivalent-boosters-6831663 (Quote from article: Relative vaccine effectiveness also decreased slightly as age increased: Among people ages 50–64, bivalent vaccines were 31% and 48% effective depending on time since last monovalent shot; among people ages 65 and older, it was 28% and 43% effective.)
- Sun, L. H. (2023, April 20). CDC allows second COVID booster: Who should get it and when. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 23, 2023, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2023/04/19/fda-second-bivalent-booster/(Quote from article: If you are at least 65 and received your first bivalent booster at least four months ago, you are eligible to get a second one. …. If you are immunocompromised and received a bivalent booster at least two months ago, you are also eligible to get a second one. People with weak immune systems can receive additional doses at intervals decided by their doctors. These include people who have received organ or stem cell transplants, people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, people undergoing treatment for cancer and people who are taking certain medications that weaken the immune system. Eligibility for extra doses for immunocompromised children 6 months through 4 years old will depend on which vaccine they have already received.)
- Venkat, K. (2021, April 20). Health & Economics | The Public Health Advocate. the Public Health Advocate. Retrieved April 30, 2023, from https://pha.berkeley.edu/2021/04/20/health-economics/(Quote from article: Healthcare can be dependent on an individual’s/nation’s income. But, a country’s economy can be heavily influenced by better health practices and policies. As Bloom and Canning stated: “Health may be not only a consequence but also a cause of high income.” This can work through several mechanisms. These mechanisms include increasing human capital via methods such as keeping a stable population, taking public health/preventive methods to ensure safety for all, and ensuring that there is an equitable distribution of national funds. When we first view healthcare, we examine how the economy has benefited us. Studies show that an increase in income is correlated with better health. If income was even 1 percent higher in developing countries, the infant mortality rates in these regions will decrease immensely. Raising per capita incomes will be an important component of any country’s health strategy. However, there are limitations to this. When new treatments come out to the public, the people who can access it first will be the people who are better off. This causes a divide between classes of people, which increases healthcare inequality, which is when one group of people in an economy is in much worse health than another group. In the United States, health inequality is heavily correlated with income inequality. As healthcare becomes more privatized, it becomes harder for poor populations to get the help they need.)
- Why and when to get a bivalent covid-19 booster. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2023). Retrieved April 23, 2023, from https://publichealth.jhu.edu/Bivalent-Covid-19-Booster-Updates (Quote from article: This article was updated on January 23, 2023, to reflect the most recent information and recommendations…..The bivalent booster is the most recent version of the COVID-19 vaccine. It contains both the original vaccine strain [of the virus] and a strain derived from the BA.5 omicron variant, which is currently dominating here in the U.S., so that we can maximize protection against severe disease and potentially from infection…….)