WASHINGTON, D.C. (KERO) — Doctors say the "COVID fatigue mentality" continues to set in across the country especially when it comes to staying up to date on vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 67 percent of Americans eligible for a vaccine have gotten the entire primary series and just under half of those people have gotten their first booster. It dwindles more for the second booster for which people 50 and older or immuno-compromised are eligible. That percentage drops down to roughly 26 percent.
Public health scientist Jessica Steier says in the short term not getting boosted puts a person at greater risk of infection or re-infection. In the long run she says staying up to date with booster shots impacts "long-COVID."
"We're seeing that the vaccines and the boosters are preventing that and if you do have long COVID, they do help resolve some of those symptoms."
Dr. Larry Bush, an immunologist who's worked extensively on COVID vaccine trials says another long-term effect to consider is getting boosted moves everyone closer to a true endemic stage.
"The more the virus gets to replicate in a person as it's active, the more chance of a variant that may be very aggressive or that the vaccines have no effect on."
Last week an FDA panel voted to recommend modifying COVID booster shots in hopes of offering protection from newer variants and having updated boosters in the fall.