NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A month-long trend in new COVID-19 cases has Dr. William Schaffner optimistic. “My fingers are crossed because cases are going down – hospitalizations are receding, and behind them, deaths are also coming down.”

The infectious diseases doctor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center said he is hopeful the slow in the transmission is sustainable, despite a jump in new cases on October 17 possibly indicating an uptick is on the way following fall break.

Tracking COVID in Tennessee
📊 COVID-19 cases among TN school-age children
📊 Tennessee’s Current COVID-19 hospitalizations
📊 New COVID-19 cases and deaths reported by month

The news comes as a larger rollout of booster shots is expected soon.

“We will see by the end of the week, the new CDC recommendations for the people who received the Moderna vaccine and for the J&J vaccine,” said Schaffner.

Currently, only Pfizer booster shots are available for certain people who may be at high risk for infection or severe disease. Dr. Schaffner said the regulatory process is still underway as the FDA and CDC iron out important details.

“The Pfizer vaccine has been studied with a full dose of the vaccine. The Moderna vaccine, which always had a very large original full dose, they’re doing it with a half dose. And the data would indicate, I’ve seen both sets of data, both are very effective as boosters.”

The Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted 19-0 Friday that booster shots should be made available to all people who have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. The committees continue to review vaccines for those younger than 12.

“The children five to 11 years of age – Pfizer [is] first in line, Moderna [is] coming along. They have presented their data to the FDA and I think very shortly, within a couple of weeks, they’re scheduled to look at those,” said Schaffner

He also explained the FDA is not bound by the votes of its advisory committee, but generally follows their advice.