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Infectious disease expert says those over 50 should consider 4th COVID shot

According to CDC data, only about 21% of the 50 and older age group has received a second booster.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — This week COVID-19 cases in Michigan decreased from the previous week but nationwide the number of new infections continues to rise.

With the latest fears of another surge in the fall, Dr. Liam Sullivan, an infectious disease specialist at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, says the CDC and FDA are considering authorizing a fourth shot for the entire population.

Scientists are divided over the need for a 2nd booster shot for the under 50 age group.

As of now, a second booster has been authorized for people 50 and older but not for people under 50 unless they have an underlying condition such as a compromised immune system.

According to CDC data, only about 21% of the 50 and older age group has received a second booster.

With new sub variants circulating experts are concerned about waning immunity.

Studies are being done that could change the original vaccine.

“I think it's it's likely that the vaccine is on the cusp of getting altered where they're going to have to have one or two more variants in the vaccine along with the original strain to start vaccinating people in the fall give a quote, unquote, a booster shot in the fall because I think that's probably coming," Dr. Sullivan said.

Dr. Sullivan says nothing is official yet and things are still changing daily.

He does say there’s positive news on the front, despite the surge in cases hospitalizations and deaths have not had the same steep increase.

While it is possible to get COVID even if you’ve had it already or are vaccinated the goal is to prevent severe illness which is why vaccines are recommended.

“This is my advice to them. I think if you're if you're over 65, it's probably not a bad idea to get a fourth shot because you want to augment your immune system, you're the most vulnerable age group out there, and your response to vaccines just isn't as good as what a normal person does," Dr. Sullivan said.

Dr. Sullivan says for those under the age of 50 who are healthy probably don’t need a fourth shot right now, but he says if you have an underlying health condition it’s something you should consider.

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