Boosting more people seems as if it should be more feasible, because it involves people who have already received a shot. Still, boosters are lagging. Many Americans seem confused about how much a booster shot matters.
The scientific evidence suggests that everybody who is eligible should get a first booster shot. A second booster shot — now available to people 50 and older, among others — may also make sense, although the benefits appear smaller. And if you are boosted and have already had Omicron, you probably don’t need another booster yet, Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research notes (as part of his helpful overview of the evidence).
The story is similar with both Evusheld (a drug that appears to boost immunity among the immunocompromised) and post-infection treatments that reduce the chance of severe illness. They are widely available, yet many people remain unaware of them.
Many doctors also seem uncertain how and when to prescribe them. “Doctors are beginning to use this,” a Biden administration official told me, “but it takes a while for things to get absorbed in medical practice.”
Biden yesterday announced a new federal website — Covid.gov — where people can search for pharmacies near them that have both Evusheld and the treatments. I found most parts of it simple to use. But I also thought that Rob Relyea, a Microsoft engineer who has become an advocate for the immunocompromised, made a good critique on Twitter: The Evusheld information is too hard to find.
The bottom line is that Americans would benefit from hearing a series of clear, repeated messages:
Getting a booster shot may save your life.
Many immunocompromised people would probably be helped by Evusheld, and it’s available.
Vulnerable people — like the elderly — should talk with a doctor as soon as they test positive for Covid and seek treatments that can reduce its severity, like Paxlovid or molnupiravir.
As Biden said yesterday, “America has the tools to protect people.”
If more people become aware of the treatments, however, some of them are likely to run low later this year. And if the federal government waits until then to act, it may discover that other countries have bought the available supply. “You can’t snap your fingers and buy the stuff,” the Biden administration official told me.