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COVID update: Dr. Leana Wen on masks, booster shots, kids' vax

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Dr. Leana Wen, emergency physician and public health advocate, teaches at GWUniversity's Milken Institute School of Public Health. (GWU)

Today on Midday, it’s the Midday Healthwatch with Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former Baltimore City Health Commissioner who joins us each month to talk about public health issues, and who has been providing us with timely updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trends in that pandemic are headed in a relatively positive direction. Nationally, cases are down about 20% in the last couple of weeks, but that still amounts to about 114,000 new cases every day. With 45% of the country still unvaccinated against the coronavirus, many people who received the Pfizer vaccine six months or more ago, are now cleared to get a third dose.

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Those now eligible for a COVID booster shot include people who are immunocompromised, at least 65 years old, or who work in front-line jobs like medical personnel and teachers. (image: Marco Verch:Flickr/CC)

There was some confusion last week when an advisory panel of the CDC made a recommendation as to who should qualify for a booster shot. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky broadened the group that her advisors had identified. The people who are now eligible include people who are immunocompromised, at least 65 years old, or who work in front line jobs like medical personnel and teachers. That group is likely to expand to include people who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but the FDA and CDC have not yet approved boosters of those vaccines.

Today on the Midday Healthwatch, Dr. Leana Wen will help us sort out these developments. Dr. Wen teaches at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She’s also a columnist for the Washington Post, a medical analyst for CNN, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health. Dr. Wen lives with her husband and their toddler and baby in Baltimore.

Dr. Leana Wen joins us today on Skype…

And as always, we welcome your questions and comments…

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.