Breaking News – Pfizer COVID vaccine boosters are now recommended five months after completion of the primary series and for children who are at least 12 years old. (see below).
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.
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:
- 4th and 5th dose of DTaP
- 2nd dose of hepatitis A
- 3rd dose of hepatitis B
- 4th dose of Hib
- 3rd dose of HPV
- 4th dose of Prevnar
- 4th dose of polio
- 2nd dose of meningococcal vaccines
- 2nd dose of Varivax (chicken pox vaccine)
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?
“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
At first, COVID vaccine “booster doses” were 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 (children and adults) 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 (Pfizer only for kids though).
This isn’t a booster dose though.
If you are immunocompromised, you will need another dose, a real booster dose later.
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
Everyone who is at least 16 years old is now eligible for a booster dose, as there is a concern about waning protection with these vaccines.
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.
And that includes everyone who is at least 12 years old.
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 fourth 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
- Is It Too Late to Get a COVID Vaccine?
- Did You Miss Your Second Dose of COVID Vaccine?
- COVID-19 Vaccination Questions and Answers
- How Long Does It Take for the COVID-19 Vaccines to Work?
- Who’s Anti-Vaccine Now?
- The Truth About COVID-19 Vaccines
- I’m Not Anti-Vaccine, I Just Don’t Believe in the COVID-19 Vaccine
- Joint Statement from HHS Public Health and Medical Experts on COVID-19 Booster Shots
- CDC – CDC Recommends Pfizer Booster at 5 Months, Additional Primary Dose for Certain Immunocompromised Children
- CDC – COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People
- MMWR – The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendations for Additional Primary and Booster Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines — United States, 2021
- NIH clinical trial evaluating mixed COVID-19 vaccine schedules begins
- CDC – Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States
- Protocol for administering a third dose of anti-19-COVID mRNAs to immunosuppressants (Israel)
- Factbox: Countries weigh need for booster COVID-19 shots
- WHO – Interim statement on COVID-19 vaccine booster doses
- Is It OK To Lie For A Booster? Here’s What Some Of You Had To Say
- Coronavirus FAQ: Is It Ethical To Lie To Get A Booster Or A Shot For An Under-12 Kid?
- Making Vaccines Available to Other Countries Before Offering Domestic Booster Vaccinations