Boosters will help but unvaccinated are a bigger problem, experts say

“We will not boost our way out of this pandemic,” the CDC's director says. Getting initial shots in the arms of the unvaccinated remains critical.

MIAMI – CDC director Rochelle Walensky ultimately decided to make frontline workers — healthcare workers, teachers, first responders — eligible for a third dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, along with people 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and any adult at high risk with underlying medical conditions.

“In a pandemic, we most often take steps to do the greatest good, even in an uncertain environment. And that is what I’m doing with these recommendations,” she said.

However, Walensky made the point that “we will not boost our way out of this pandemic” and that getting initial shots in the arms of the unvaccinated remains critical.

Local health experts agree.

“The problem isn’t going away,” said Dr. Aarti Raja, associate professor of biological sciences at Nova Southeastern University. “Yeah, these people are going to be protected and the booster is going to likely help them, but the pandemic is still going to happen.”

In South Florida, union reps tell Local 10 News that large numbers of front-line workers, such as non-instructional school employees, continue to resist getting the vaccine — with deadly consequences.

“The most vulnerable are those unvaccinated,” Walensky said.

Decisions on boosters for Americans who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still to come.

Click here for information on where to get COVID-19 vaccines in South Florida.

About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.