On Sept. 14, the UC Irvine School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences hosted a community information session on the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, from the science behind them to current recommendations.
Founding Chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice Alexandre Chan, PharmD, MPH, served as moderator and started the event with an overview of the initial vaccine rollout and education at UCI, and the current threat of the Delta variant.
The information session showcased three speakers:
- Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor Lee Nguyen, PharmD
- Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor Shawn Griffin, PharmD
- Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor Keri Hurley-Kim, PharmD, MPH
Nguyen delivered a presentation on the current recommendations surrounding COVID-19 booster shots and vaccine effectiveness. He discussed the studies that show how the vaccines’ antibodies decreasing over time. Nguyen also spoke about a nationwide study from Israel that analyzed protection from the Pfizer vaccine booster dose.
“The study had more than 1 million participants in the age range of 60 years or older,” Nguyen said. “For patients that received the third dose, there were only 313 confirmed infections compared to 3,473 in the group of people that received only two doses. There is a protective aspect in receiving this third dose.”
In the next presentation, Griffin shared information for additional vaccine for immunocompromised individuals and more details on vaccine safety.
“In the immunocompromised population, there is an increased rate of breakthrough infections,” Griffin said. “If you look at immunocompromised individuals as a whole, they represent three percent of the population. But if we look at breakthrough infections, specifically for those patients with severe COVID-19 infections that require hospitalization, immunocompromised individuals represent more than 40 percent of those breakthrough infections.”
In the final presentation of the event, Hurley-Kim discussed the public health implications of the COVID-19 vaccine boosters. In the presentation, Hurley-Kim reiterated key points from a recent CDC / Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting, including:
- Top priority should be continued vaccination of unvaccinated individuals
- Priority for the booster dose policy should be the prevention of severe disease in at-risk populations
- Simplicity and flexibility will be important to support equitable and efficient delivery of booster doses
To view a recording of the community information session, including the Q&A portion, visit: https://youtu.be/A5nWaoMt3eo.