Should You Get Another COVID-19 Booster Shot?

Should You Get Another COVID-19 Booster Shot?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a second COVID-19 booster shot for both Moderna and Pfizer. The aim of the second booster shot is to protect Americans who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. People 50 years of age and older who are at least four months out from their last dose can receive the new booster. But the fact remains that people are less interested in getting the shot now that mask mandates are ending and the world is opening back up. 

COVID-19 cases are down in the United States, with numbers dropping to the lowest point since July 2021. The BA.2 subvariant of omicron is the current dominant strain in America and is sweeping across Europe, but what’s the right choice moving forward in regards to vaccines? The scientific evidence surrounding a fourth dose is incomplete. Researchers cannot conclude if people need the shots, with some scientists saying that they are dubious about the decision to get a second one. 

Although the FDA authorized people over the age of 50 to receive a second booster, experts point out the lack of research surrounding it. What the research does show, however, is that people in poor health, those 65 and older, or people with underlying health conditions may benefit from another booster. The reasoning behind this is because they are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and suffering from more severe symptoms without vaccine protection.

Do You Need Another Booster Shot?

This is a question that you have to answer yourself, as only you can decide what is right for you. Health experts do say that your overall health status factors in to this decision. If you are aged 50 or older and in good health with no underlying conditions, you may want to wait a bit. Infectious diseases specialists say that it’s perfectly reasonable for people under 60 to wait, noting that current vaccines and boosters still offer protection against death and severe disease. 

According to several research studies, many people have sufficient protection from severe illness. Even if someone contracts the omicron variant, which can slip through immune defenses, two or three doses of Moderna or Pfizers’s vaccine proved powerful enough protection. An Israeli study found that adults older than 60 who got a fourth dose were 78% less likely to die from COVID-19 than those who received three shots. That study has flaws, though, given that the participants volunteered to get a fourth shot. 

People who are naturally careful about their health may be more cautious about the coronavirus. They are more likely to exercise, eat healthy, wear a mask, and less likely to smoke cigarettes. These factors may make a second booster look more effective than it is. Other data from that study suggests that a second booster had marginal benefits in healthy young people. 

Is A Second Booster Shot Dangerous?

Health officials continue to say that vaccines are incredibly safe. There is no danger surrounding an additional shot. It’s possible to experience brief bouts of fatigue, site pain, and fever, as is consistent with the other shots. The only reason it would be dangerous is if you are allergic to something within the vaccine. 

Should You Time A Booster With Travel? 

This is a strategy that many people want to employ, but it does carry some risk. The omicron variant spread like wildfire when it hit during late November 2021, quickly overwhelming hospitals and healthcare workers. The BA.2 variant is more contagious, but it doesn’t necessarily cause severe symptoms like previous variants. 

Vaccine protections don’t last forever and they do take some time to kick in. According to research, the protection against hospitalization for people two months after they got their first booster was 91%. That protection dropped to 78% four months after getting the first booster. If you plan to travel in late summer, the second booster may not be effective if you get it now. 

Lastly, if you contracted COVID-19 during the omicron wave, you don’t have to rush to get another booster shot. Experts say that any infection within the past three months gives you a similar level of protection against reinfection as a booster will. 

2022-05-17T01:17:01-07:00