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Virus Expert Just Gave This Big Booster Update

Here's when you can get yours—and if you should mix brands.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The coronavirus pandemic is "turning a corner," say experts, as cases, hospitalizations and deaths are going down. However, this sliver of hope hides a stark reality: COVID-19 will never "go away" completely. Instead, said virus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, we must learn how to control it. And we certainly aren't controlling it enough now. Boosters may be needed for us all, and the FDA is meeting today to discuss them. With this in mind, Dr. Carlos Roberto Jaén, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of Texas Health San Antonio, spoke with CBSN. Read on for five life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Virus Expert Says We Will Never Eliminate COVID But Have to Control It

Two doctors wearing personal personal protective equipment

"Elimination is really not something that we can aspire to," he said. "The goal is not elimination but control. We need to get more people vaccinated. We need to be able to get a better handle on how people get protected. And only when we do that, we can really talk about control—and elimination is not going to be possible as long as there are pockets of the virus all over the world. But I think we need to continue our efforts to improve, use the things that work, masking, vaccines and make sure that everyone who is eligible for vaccination uses it."


Virus Expert Says Here's Who Can Get Boosters Now

Doctor holding syringe in hospital.

"The data that showed that there is, particularly for Johnson & Johnson, benefit for having a second booster. And there's also data that was released related to using other" brands "to amplify the effect of the protector, the effect that we'll see. So it's very likely that the boosters are coming, but at this point they're not approved for general population, but only for people who are over 65 and those who are at risk for contracting the virus during their work."

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Virus Expert Says Here's the Latest on Mixing and Matching Brands for Boosters

Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

Should we mix brands for boosters? One recent NIH study indicated it may be effective. "Pfizer, Moderna, our messenger RNA vaccine—they use different technology" than the J&J vaccine," said Dr. Carlos Roberto Jaén, and a study showed for J&J people, "that by using a different vaccine, the effect on the immunity is improved significantly and it may actually be higher in if you use a messenger RNA." He said we should wait for recommendations from the CDC and FDA.

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Virus Expert Says Here's When to Expect Shots for 5 to 11 Year Olds

Child with face mask getting vaccinated

"This is a great opportunity for primary care to provide the vaccinations that are commonly given to children," said Dr. Carlos Roberto Jaén. "And even in the setting of primary care offices," the White House plan for distributing vaccines includes "the distribution of vaccines in ways that are effective and they are more, much, much more commonly used for children. So in that sense, I think is very helpful. So the information that perhaps as early as November, it's five to 11 may be vaccinated, maybe approved for vaccination for them. The dose is a little different, but I think it's important to emphasize that" going through primary care can reach communities "that up to this point have been less vaccinated" and "are dying at a higher rates."

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Virus Expert Says This is How to Keep Kids Safe

Girl with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.

"The first step is to surround them with adults—and those who are eligible should be vaccinated. It's important also to have the schools with policies that you implement full coverage or use of masks masking universal masking in schools…Our kids have already suffered too much by being away from school, but we need to have environments where everyone above two years old is mask, even in schools, even, and daycare centers, but also anyone who is around them needs to be vaccinated. And we need to encourage all their parents, all their relatives and all the workers are on them to do that."

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How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek