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COVID Vaccine Booster Doses

While some folks still haven’t gotten their first dose, surprisingly, others are wondering if they should get a booster dose of their COVID vaccine.

Vaccine Booster Doses

For many others, the real question isn’t if they should get a booster, but rather when…

After all, many other vaccines require booster doses.

Peter Hotez explains how COVID vaccine booster doses will work and why the introduction of this additional dose doesn’t necessarily mean that we will need yearly COVID vaccines.

Did you know that?

While you might only think of the Td/Tdap as a booster shot, as you are supposed to get a dose every ten years, there are many other vaccine doses that we receive that are actually booster doses.

These classic booster doses include the:

The first doses of the primary series of the vaccine series leads to the production of plasma cells and protective antibodies, then the booster dose cause a secondary immune response and the production of more long-lived plasma cells.

That’s how we get higher levels of protective antibodies that are longer lasting.

COVID Vaccine Booster Doses for Immunocompromised People

So do you need a COVID vaccine booster dose?

It depends…

“CDC recommends people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses.

COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People

So far, COVID vaccine booster doses are only recommended for those who have compromised immune systems, as they “may not build the same level of immunity to 2-dose vaccine series compared to people who are not immunocompromised.”

In general, immunocompromised people should receive a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine at least four weeks after their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines.

“If the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.”

COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People

There is not yet a recommendation for a booster dose of the Janssen COVID vaccine.

COVID Vaccine Booster Doses for Everyone Else

But what if you aren’t immunocompromised?

“We are prepared to offer booster shots for all Americans beginning the week of September 20 and starting 8 months after an individual’s second dose.”

Joint Statement from HHS Public Health and Medical Experts on COVID-19 Booster Shots

It seems that everyone will eventually be eligible for a booster dose, as there is a concern about waning protection.

And of course, it doesn’t seem like the COVID pandemic is going away any time soon…

So when a booster dose of the COVID vaccine becomes available to you, get it.

In addition to booster doses with the same COVID vaccine, experts are also looking at:

  • mixed boosted regimens – getting a booster dose of a different type of COVID vaccine than you received in your primary series
  • booster doses with modified COVID vaccines targeted at variants

Of course, this now leads us to a situation in which many people in the world still don’t have access to COVID vaccines, while others will soon be able to get a third dose…

“In the context of ongoing global vaccine supply constraints, administration of booster doses will exacerbate inequities by driving up demand and consuming scarce supply while priority populations in some countries, or subnational settings, have not yet received a primary vaccination series.”

Interim statement on COVID-19 vaccine booster doses

That’s probably the main argument against booster doses.

Still, in areas with a lot of intentionally unvaccinated people and repeated surges, a booster dose might end up being the only way to ensure good protection, especially for those who are high risk.

More on COVID Vaccine Booster Doses

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