Booster Shot or Not?

 

Is it time to get a booster shot for your Covid-19 vaccination?

The CDC says not until later in the fall. They say you have to wait at least eight months after your second Covid-19 shot. They plan to begin widespread booster shots on September 20th. (At least that’s what they say on their website today!)

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal by Stephanie Armour and Jared S. Hopkins, “Federal regulators are likely to approve a Covid-19 booster shot for vaccinated adults starting at least six months after the previous dose rather than the eight-month gap they previously announced, a person familiar with the plans said, as the Biden administration steps up preparations for delivering boosters to the public.”

“Data from vaccine manufacturers and other countries under review by the Food and Drug Administration is based on boosters being given at six months, the person said. The person said approval for boosters for all three Covid-19 shots being administered in the U.S.—those manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and partner  BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson —is expected in mid-September.”

I gave up trusting the CDC guidelines about February of this year when they flip-flopped their recommendations to suit the teachers unions. But there is evidence of wide-spread failure of the vaccines to protect the vaccinated from mild disease. The Mayo Clinic announced studies that estimated the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine at only 47% and the Moderna vaccine at 75% after eight months. I have personally spoken to many vaccinated individuals who have tested positive for Covid, although nearly everyone has had a mild course of the disease.

With those statistics in mind, my hospital began providing booster shots recently to all staff and staff spouses by the following eligibility:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Organ transplant recipients taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or those taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

 

Anyone with one of the above criteria qualifies for the booster shots. All others will have to wait until the CDC releases the booster shots to the general population. Since I qualify under these criteria in two categories, I got my booster shot this week. They warned me I might have side effects, but I only experienced the usual arm soreness for about 48 hours.

I have been a strong advocate for vaccination from the beginning. I recognize there are some individuals who probably should avoid the vaccines, especially if recommended by their physician. But for everyone else, vaccination is the best way to lower your risk of serious illness and even death.

If you’ve had your two shots already, I would recommend you get the booster shot as soon as it is available, unless your first two shots were only recently completed. Then it is probably best to wait six months. The purpose of the third shot is to boost the declining immune response over time, so getting it early defeats that purpose.

Vaccination is the best way to resume a normal lifestyle – at least as normal as the politicians will allow. But either way, you will have the peace of mind knowing that Covid is no longer the serious threat it was before.

 

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