As immunity wanes for many vaccinated adults and omicron and its subvariants continue to circulate, it seems that just about everyone knows someone with a case of COVID-19.
The steady increase in COVID-19 infections is due to changing, highly contagious variants, explains Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. Dr. Poland says it’s still important to take the precaution of mask-wearing in public areas, even if you have been vaccinated and have received your boosters.
"I can’t say it enough. This is so hypercontagious that, regardless of having had three or four doses of vaccine or of having previous COVID-19, you still run an appreciable chance of getting COVID," explains Dr. Poland. "The risk in that case is not of death or hospitalization, but of the complications and long-haul symptoms of COVID-19. And that’s what we’re trying to prevent in people."
For parents, there is positive news this week, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted unanimously to authorize emergency use of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5. For this age group, the Pfizer vaccine will be given in three doses while the Moderna vaccine will be given in two doses.
The FDA panel's recommendation now goes to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for approval before shots can be administered, possibly beginning as early as next week.
On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland shares the latest COVID-19 news, answers listener questions, and discusses another infectious disease outbreak: monkeypox.
For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.