The recommendation from a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee for some people to get a booster shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination says more about the dangers of the delta variant of the coronavirus than it does about the quality of the vaccine, Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said Friday on Newsmax.
"It is so contagious that it is causing breakthrough infections even in people (that) are vaccinated now," Jha told Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "I'm one of the 69 million who got the Moderna. It still protects against hospitalizations and deaths."
FDA advisers said Thursday that some Americans who got the Moderna vaccine should get a half-dose booster shot to protect them further. The panel voted unanimously to recommend a booster shot for senior citizens, and other adults with health problems or who have jobs or living situations putting them at increased risk for illness.
Jha told Newsmax that annual shots against COVID-19 will likely happen, and he hopes most Americans agree to get the immunizations.
"[This] virus is not going away," said Jha. "It's going to become endemic in our lives. We're going to have to deal with it. It won't dominate our lives the way it has in the last year-and-a-half. It will fade much more into the background the way most people don't go around thinking about the flu all the time."
But still, one of the ways to deal with COVID-19 moving forward will be to get an annual shot, said Jha, adding that he'll probably get his annual vaccine as well.
"My hope is most Americans are going to get that annual shot," he said. "It is going to keep a higher level of protection, especially during the fall and winter months when the virus tends to spike up a bit more because of seasonality."
He said he hopes that the news about booster shots doesn't result in even more vaccine hesitancy around the country, as the science continues to change.
"Delta is a way more contagious version than what we've seen before," said Jha. "The way I practice, clinical practice, is that I do my best, and then when new studies and new data come out, I change my clinical practice. That's exactly what you'd expect doctors and public health people to do."
Meanwhile, the best way to protect against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, and "if you don't want to get a booster, you don't have to. The two shots will protect you from hospitalizations and deaths and that's probably the thing that matters most," said Jha.
A similar decision is coming Friday on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and Jha said he believes the company's one-dose shot is "awesome" and should not have been paused for a period of time this year.
"I was pretty vocal that I thought that was a mistake, that it would send the inappropriate signal," said Jha "This is a very safe and effective vaccine. It turns out that maybe one shot is not enough and people definitely need a second of the J&J. It's unfortunate that only about 14 million people end up using this vaccine because it is such a good vaccine."
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