Experts: No correlation between COVID-19 boosters and surge in cases

Image courtesy of MGN.
Image courtesy of MGN.(25 News / Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 5:39 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 NEWS) - Amid a record-setting day for COVID-19 cases in Illinois, some are worried its the third dose of the vaccine that is leading to new infections - but experts are debunking that theory.

“I think we’re surprised by how fast (the Omicron variant) has come at us. And how bad it has come at us,” said Dr. Robert Ayers, occupational health physician for OSF Healthcare. “The thought was, ‘well, that will hit us in January or February.’ – that’s how we were worried about it … If there’s a surprise in it, it’s ‘boy, this thing is here already in huge numbers.’”

On just Wednesday alone, Illinois reported more than 30,000 new COVID-19 cases. Dr. Samer Sader of UnityPoint Health says holiday gatherings this past week clearly played a role.

“The increase in cases is related to our behavior,” Sader said. “Omicron seems to be more infectious - what that means is that your exposure doesn’t have to be as severe or as prolonged.”

Some patients are testing positive even after receiving a vaccine booster, which has people wondering if the shot even works.

Dr. Ayers says it is actually the result of bad timing.

“COVID causes people to have the virus in their nose a few days before they start showing symptoms … You’ve already got the virus and just happened to get the vaccine. It had nothing to do with the positive test that (you’re) gonna have in a day or two. It’s just a bad coincidence,” Ayers said.

Experts, though, continue to stress - a booster is the best bet.

“Is it perfect in the sense that it prevents everything under the sun? No – we know that now. But if you ask me what I’d want, I want to not end up in the hospital and I don’t want to die from it,” Sader said.

Sader added for those who are feeling symptoms and can’t access a COVID test, isolating for five days is the next best option.

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