I got to listen to some of the presentations yesterday during the ACIP meeting on Covid-19 vaccines and boosters. My impression is that there seems to still be some discussion about what the most important goals of the vaccination program. Is it to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death? Or is it to prevent infection altogether?
It’s not lost on me that even mild infection with Covid-19 can lead to a chronic (“long haul”) syndrome. On the other hand, it doesn’t sound plausible that a vaccine to prevent infection would even be possible, given that so many people remain unvaccinated. That’s part of the context for the rise of variants that can lead to vaccine-resistant strains. That can lead to boosters and what some ACIP committee members are now afraid might lead to a new vogue term-“booster fatigue.”
Sena and I are now immunized as far as we can go, with 4 doses. We’re hoping for a new vaccine that is safe, effective against variants, and doesn’t involve boosting every few months.
We focus a lot on vaccines. But the other side of the risk of getting infected and sick are a part of host immunity. It gets weaker as we get older. It’s weak in those who are immunocompromised for other reasons, including things like underlying diseases and organ transplantation.
Looking at other ways to prevent disease with Covid-19, such as new medications that might counter the decline of the immune system as we age, and any other innovations are also important.