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UPMC: COVID vaccines and boosters are top priority | News, sports, jobs

A COVID-19 booster vaccination helps “recall” Immune system what they are fighting against, UPMC officials said in a virtual question-and-answer session on Friday.

UPMC Chief Medical Officer Donald Yealy, along with Graham Snyder, Senior Medical Director for Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology, asked questions about booster vaccinations and explained how quickly the organization would be able to give any pending booster vaccinations, and who of them would benefit most.

“When you look at the vaccines, how well they protect you from disease, we are beginning to see the need to remind our immune systems to stay fully prepared.” said Snyder.

Booster vaccinations have been a hot topic for the past few months, and it was announced this week that an advisory board to the Federal Drug Administration announced its support for a Moderna booster shot for people within certain risk categories.

“The operation is finished, it’s just a matter of finding out the final details for implementing the strategy.” said Snyder.

When asked how quickly UPMC’s medical system would be able to deliver booster shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to the public, Snyder said it was just a matter of official approval to begin introducing patients.

“Essentially right after the (official) approval process is complete … We have a team ready to do this.” he said. “We have a team of experts who have accompanied this process so that we are ready to do so as soon as we receive the final recommendations from our federal colleagues.”

Especially before the onset of winter, Yealy emphasized the need to be fully vaccinated – and also to get vaccinated against the flu.

“I think that’s the most important thing as we get into the fall season … make sure you had the first series, [and] Don’t forget the flu vaccine. This is seasonal, this is exactly the right time to get it … Even if you had the first full set – whichever vaccine you chose – and you don’t belong to that immunocompromised group, you are still well protected – especially, when you do some of the simple things like masking and avoid some of the tight terms we are talking about when the spread is taking place. “

Although the COVID vaccine booster was the star of the show, Yealy made it clear that the # 1 priority is still to vaccinate as many people as possible against COVID.

“The most important job in vaccination right now is getting those who have not yet decided on full vaccination to the point where they choose the vaccine and get the vaccine.” he said. “This is by far the most important task at the moment as opposed to booster doses for the majority of the population.”

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