The COVID-19 booster and why it’s being recommended

By Conner Tighe

The COVID-19 booster, sometimes called “booster,” is the third vaccination dose against the COVID-19 virus. Compared to the initial doses, the “booster” is a one-time shot not requiring a second dose.

Regardless of which vaccine patients received (Moderna/Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson), the original vaccinations helped ensure immunity to the COVID-19 virus, even if just temporary. COVID-19 needs to replicate to survive, and the vaccines provide antibodies. Many people may not know that antibodies don’t “cure” the virus but merely prevent it from entering the body in the first place.

Although not everyone displays the same antibody levels after being fully vaccinated, scientists have discovered most people maintain a safe immunity level for at least seven months. As the virus has mutated and evolved with the Delta Variant and now the Omicron Variant, organizations like the World Health Organization are racing against time to ensure the virus can be combatted.

After receiving an additional dose, it will take a minimum of two weeks before patients are fully protected. Like the original vaccinations, doctors encourage those 65+ and those with underlying health conditions to get the “booster.”

The fact that a “booster” is required is nothing new in the world of medicine. Requiring an additional dose has been put into practice for more diseases than the COVID-19 virus. It’s a fact that no matter what vaccine patients receive, a “booster” will be required if one wants to continuously ensure safety from the virus.

Like the original vaccines, symptoms like injection site pain, soreness, fatigue, muscle aches, and more are likely to occur. Regardless of which vaccine patients initially received, they can choose the same or a different type for their “booster.”

There has been speculation and debate about how well vaccines work against the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that “breakthrough cases” will occur, meaning patients may still contract the COVID-19 virus even if they’re vaccinated. However, the vaccinated will experience less severe symptoms compared to being nonvaccinated. 

There continue to be many questions about the future of vaccines as additional doses may be required as time goes on. As of right now, it’s too soon to tell.

Sources: Gavi, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Delta Variant), World Health Organization, Miami Herald, AMA, WebMD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (COVID-19)

Featured Image: National Council on Aging

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