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Osterholm says waning immunity and future variants could bring another wave of COVID-19

Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH
 

While the threat of COVID-19 remains prevalent in our daily lives, health experts are resting easier as the vaccines continue to do their jobs in stopping serious illnesses. But how long could that last?

Dr. Michael Osterholm joined News Talk 830 WCCO’s Chad Hartman to discuss the state of the pandemic and shared that while vaccinated people still test positive, they are not experiencing severe illness.

Even still, one issue doctors and health experts are looking to resolve is waning immunity, as there are no concrete answers.

The doctor shared that he doesn’t know what the future will hold as the protection offered from vaccines continues to wane after every shot.

“This is going to likely require a long-term commitment from vaccines,” Osterholm said. “I don’t know how we’re going to do that. I can’t imagine we are going to keep giving booster doses to everyone two to three times a year.”

Another issue keeping Osterholm up at night is the virus’s ability to jump to animals, leaving the door open for more possible variants that could cause havoc as omicron and delta did.

Osterholm has warned for months that another variant could be lurking right around the corner and that if people do not get vaccinated, we won’t beat this virus.

With questions still remaining about what the future of the pandemic will hold and with too many going unanswered, Osterholm says that health experts just “don’t know” with so many possibilities on the table.

“If we can’t tell you what’s going to happen in the next three to six weeks, it’s hard for us to say what’s going to happen from year to year right now,” Osterholm said. “Which is what we all want to get to.”

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