November 30, 2021
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The best weapon that we have against the deadly Coronavirus is vaccination. The vaccines that have been administered in the US have proven to be completely safe and effective. However, we have known over time that the effect of these vaccines will wear out with time.

So is it time to consider taking the Covid booster shots? Various studies across the UK, Israel, and the US have raised this question. The first two countries have even started administering the booster shots.

Vaccination To Be The Priority?

While organizations like the CDC and FDA have given the green signal to safe and effective booster shots, what we cannot forget as a society is our priority- vaccinating the unvaccinated. Before giving out booster shots to those already vaccinated, we must protect those still at the mercy of the virus.

There must be efforts made to expand the pool of vaccinated people to save more lives rather than promote the booster shot. The gap between the rich and developing countries has proven to widen with the shortage of vaccines. Hence, healthcare organizations like WHO have called for a ‘moratorium’ on Covid booster shots.

What Is The Difference Between A Booster Shot And A Third Shot?

Extra vaccine doses are not the same as booster shots. The FDA announced a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine for immunocompromised individuals in 2021. It includes people with diseases like cancer or HIV. The extra dose is simply a part of the vaccination series rather than a booster shot for them.

Timing And Dose Of Vaccine Boosters

If you are planning on getting a booster shot, it is best to do so before the immunity provided by the vaccines gets weaker. As your immunity decreases, your body becomes more vulnerable to infections, serious illness, and the risk of death increases.

There are, however, a few disadvantages of providing the booster dose too early.

  • More chances of side-effects
  • Reduces the benefits
  • The virus is constantly mutating, and the current booster might not work against future variants.
  • The chances of a stronger immune response increase as you wait longer for the booster shot

Things To Keep In Mind For Vaccine Boosters

It is recommended that you wait for six months after the second dose to take the booster dose from Pfizer or Moderna. This applies to people who are:

  • 65 or older
  • Aged between 18 and 64 have a high risk due to Covid. This includes people with cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
  • Exposed to a significant risk of Covid as they might work in healthcare facilities, teachers, daycare staff, grocery workers, and prisoners

Booster shots are not required for general people who do not fall under any of these categories. This is due to the effective nature of the two vaccine doses on such people.

Can The Booster Dose Be Mixed And Matched?

The answer is yes. FDA has declared that mixing or matching vaccines is entirely safe and effective. You can take the booster from either of the companies providing it, irrespective of where you took the vaccine.

Land Of The Unknown

End number of questions have been raised about the booster dose, which has created a land of the unknown and plenty yet to be discovered. Questions like will the booster work against future variants, and if yes, then how effective it will be. Also, questions like will we need additional booster doses later on, can the safety and effectiveness data be trusted since the sample is still so limited?

Into The Future

Review and research is a continuous and ongoing process that the FDA and CDC are carrying out. In the meantime, the need of the hour is to vaccinate those that do not have access to vaccines. Also, convince the anti-waxers that the vaccination is their solid chance at life. The pandemic is here to stay, and we need to do all we can to undermine its strength in the future.

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