CDC warns against Florida’s stance on COVID boosters. Amid surging COVID hospitalizations in Florida, the CDC Director, Dr. Mandy Cohen, has criticized the state's Governor, Ron DeSantis, and its surgeon general for discouraging the use of new COVID boosters
DeSantis advised against administering the COVID booster to individuals under 65, while Dr. Joseph Ladapo expressed reservations about the federal government's approach to assessing the risks associated with the booster shots.
In response, Dr. Cohen defended the new COVID boosters, emphasizing their safety and effectiveness. She labeled DeSantis and Ladapo's remarks as "dangerous." Dr. Cohen underscored that COVID-19 vaccination remains the safest means to prevent hospitalizations, long-term health issues, and death. She urged Americans to obtain the updated COVID-19 vaccine, highlighting their safety and thorough FDA and CDC reviews. She emphasized that public health experts overwhelmingly support these facts and that any efforts to undermine vaccine adoption are unwarranted and perilous.
Florida’s Grappling With Escalating COVID Hospitalizations
Florida is currently grappling with escalating COVID hospitalizations. As of Monday, 43 out of Florida's 67 counties reported moderate levels of weekly new hospital admissions for COVID-19. This proportion surpasses any other state in the U.S., according to CDC data. Moderate levels signify between 10 and 19.9 new hospital admissions per 100,000, prompting the CDC to recommend mask-wearing for high-risk individuals and self-testing before interacting with high-risk patients.
Statewide, weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations have surged since early July, rising from 951 in the week ending July 1 to 2,406 in the week ending August 26, as per the latest available CDC data. Although these numbers don't represent a record high, it marks the highest figure since the week ending January 28.
What Experts Are Saying About COVID Boosters
Dr. Dushyanth Jayaweera, an infectious diseases expert, explained that the increase in cases was anticipated for the winter season but occurred earlier than expected. Hospitalizations have risen in his area, although many cases are less severe, with patients often discovering their COVID status through testing for other reasons.
Dr. Jayaweera also noted that variants, EG.5 and FL.1.5.1, related to XBB, an offshoot of omicron, are prevalent in about 36% of cases, according to CDC data. These variants result in more infections but less severe illnesses compared to the delta variant.
Dr. Vinay Pallekonda, chief medical officer at HCA Florida West Hospital in Pensacola, reported an uptick in COVID-19 patients, with few experiencing serious complications. He emphasized that they were managing the virus effectively and weren't on the verge of overwhelming hospitals.
Experts Argue That Boosters Could Help Prevent Future Surges
Despite the current situation, experts have argued that new boosters could help prevent a future surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The FDA recently approved an updated booster targeting current variants for those aged 12 and older, authorizing it for emergency use for children aged 6 months to 11 years.
The CDC's advisory committee endorsed boosters for all Americans aged 6 months and older, with Dr. Cohen's approval following suit. Recent data suggests that the booster provides additional protection against existing variants and potentially against newer subvariants like BA.2.86, which could help mitigate future waves of the virus.
Dr. Jayaweera recommended getting COVID boosters while cautioning against assuming it guarantees complete protection. He stressed that the primary goal was to prevent severe illness and hospitalization, even if individuals contract the virus.
About Orlando Medical News
Orlando Medical News is the number one news source for medical-related content in Central Florida. Through twenty years of service, we’ve cultivated a strong audience of dedicated healthcare professionals. Orlando Medical News is your source for the best medical news in Central Florida and your trusted advertising platform which reaches far into the medical community of Central Florida healthcare professionals.