SWFL health experts urge older adults to get second COVID-19 booster

A nurse puts a band aid on an older man’s arm after administering a COVID-19 booster shot to him. Credit: WINK News

While only 70% of Americans over 50 have received a second COVID-19 shot, there’s a push for older people and the immunocompromised to get a second booster shot to stymie a further increase in cases.

Data from the Mayo Clinic shows 311 average daily cases of COVID-19 in Lee County and 109 in Collier County. While some Americans are wondering if they should get a second booster, experts are worried places with low vaccine acceptance could soon face a rude awakening.

According to CDC data, less than 68% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and those who aren’t will be putting themselves at risk amid the current wave. But some Southwest Florida residents say they have no future plans of ever getting the vaccine.

“I don’t have any concerns,” said Bill Dougherty, a Lee County resident. “I just feel I have a pretty good immune system, and I thought that they rushed it. I wasn’t confident in it. And then I seen other people that had the shot—they still got COVID. I, at that point, I hadn’t even had it yet, so… and I had a lot of contact with people, so I just wasn’t comfortable with it. I wasn’t satisfied with the information that we were receiving.

The CDC recommends one booster shot to every vaccinated person 5 and older and two for people over 50 or people who are immunocompromised.

Rick Heliste, another Lee County resident , says he decided to get every single shot and booster that’s available to him, but he is worried about hearing that a large number of people have not done the same.

“One, I wanted to listen to my doctor, and my heart doctor says, ‘Get the shots,'” Heliste said. “I’m listening. Number two: Somewhere along the line, you gotta trust the government… I think early on, we realized, ‘Well, we’re never going to get to herd immunity’… yes, a lot of things to be concerned about.”

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