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Who would recieve the second COVID 19 booster shot proposed by Biden officials?

How many vaccines are recommended as BA5 becomes the dominate in the United States? We took a look.

US President Joe Biden speaks during the White House Congressional Picnic on July 12, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

The United States, and many other countries, are grappling with yet another wave of covid-19.

On Tuesday, the White House released a fact sheet with information related to Omicron variant BA 5. Many public health officials are confirmed as there is emerging evidence that the strain “may have some increased ability to escape immunity, including from prior infections, meaning it has the potential to cause the numbers of infections to rise in the coming weeks.”

The federal government also believes that increases in cases could result from “increased waning of immunity from vaccines.”

How contagious is BA 5?

The Omicron BA5 variant has become the dominant strain, and new research is showing that it has a reproductive rate or R0 of 18.

This means that for every one person who becomes infected, they, on average, infect eighteen others. This R0 is similar to other highly contagious diseases like measles.

The data estimating such a high number for the reproductive rate is from a study based on patient data in South Africa. The publication is currently in pre-print and will be released within the next few weeks.

Who is eligible for a second booster?

To be fully vaccinated, a person over the age of eighteen has to have would received three shots: their initial two injections and a booster. However, those over fifty are now eligible to receive a fourth shot. The White House has also recommended that those who live in long-term care facilities or “other at-risk populations,” receive a second booster or fourth shot overall.

At this point, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization are still collecting data on the efficacy of an additional booster shot for those younger than fifty or without underlying medical conditions.

How many vaccines should children get?

The CDC recommends most children receive two shots.

However, the health agency recommends that children who are immunocompromised receive three shots. The tiemlne at which each should be administered is available on the CDC’s website.

What is a mass disabling event?

At this point, around one-third of people in the United States who have tested positive for covid-19 have experienced ‘long covid,’ meaning that they have symptoms weeks, and even months, after they test negative.

Doctors are only know beginning to speak more publicly about the chances that some people may experience these systems for years or possibly their entire life.

What are the symptoms of long covid?

Some of the symptoms, according to the UK National Health Service include: 

  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain or tightness
  • problems with memory and concentration ("brain fog")
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness
  • pins and needles
  • joint pain
  • depression and anxiety
  • tinnitus, earaches
  • feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • rashes

Some who develop long covid have such severe symptoms that their daily life is disrupted to the point that they cannot work and may require additional or more frequent access to healthcare.

In the United States this is a serious problem because over a third of the population lacks access to adequate and affordable healthcare. Earlier this year, the  American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation estimated that around twenty-two million people in the US could become disabled as a result of their covid-19 diagnosis.

This is not only affecting older people.

A study from JAMA Network found that even after more than 150 days after they tested negative, a quarter of those between eighteen and thirty-six still had some symptoms. Some of the most frequent long covid symptoms reported were fatigue, loss of sense of smell or taste, and brain fog.

We must move beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act

CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Wallensky received widespread backlash after comments that applauded death rates being low among able bodied people.

“The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75% occurred in people who had at least four co-morbidities. So really these are people who were unwell to begin with. And yes, really encouraging news in the context of Omicron,” Dr. Wallensky in an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America in January.

The disability community and those in the fight have condemned these comments as dehumanizing and cruel. Not only have those with disabilities when advocating for their own rights, but they have long been calling attention to the risk covid-19 posed to the general population.

Many within that community are ready to welcome those who have become disabled as a result of their covid-19 infection but are also calling on the federal government to examine the necessary changes to the Social Security Administration and other programs that provide benefits to these groups. The Americans with Disabilities Act is not enough and has been the subject of criticism for years.

For example, to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance you cannot have a net worth of more than $2,000. If a disabled person wants to save to purchase an accessible vehicle, which can cost significantly more than a traditional automobile, they risk losing their benefits. Additionally if one is married and their spouse has more than $2,000, benefits can be lost. This leaves many within this community vulnerable to financial abuse and manipulation.