As Evolving Pandemic Response, Officials Shift To Personal Choice On COVID-19 Boosters, Masks: WSJ

In the latest phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and local officials are leaving it up to people to assess if they need booster shots, whether to wear a mask and how long to isolate after a positive test, writes Wall Street Journal.

People 50 years and older can get the additional booster at least four months after their first, but health authorities aren’t pushing those eligible to get the shots.

Officials are still watching the virus closely. States and local governments are tracking wastewater data and counting hospitalizations and cases. 

The federal government is eyeing purchases of vaccines and treatments. And restrictions could return if COVID-19 cases surge again. 

Some experts said the government forgoing a strong endorsement on the second booster is wise given the limited data available. 

The second booster is more of an individual decision than with earlier shots because medical experts and federal officials disagree on whether the goal of COVID-19 vaccination is to reduce severe disease or prevent infections, said Dr. Wen.

Amid a surge in cases, some countries are handing out second booster shots. In Israel, early data suggest a fourth vaccine dose can increase antibodies against COVID-19, but not enough to prevent infections from Omicron

Health officials are now leaving it up to people to assess how long to isolate after a positive result.

Also Read: Europe Holds Second COVID-19 Booster Dose For People Aged Under 80 Years.

Some public-health experts said they are concerned that increasing the burden on individuals could jeopardize people who have weakened or compromised immune systems or aren’t eligible to get vaccinated, such as children under 5.

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