22 Jun What you should know about COVID-19 boosters
The development of the COVID-19 vaccine proved a major development, altering the reality of the pandemic. Vaccination proved extremely effective at lowering mortality and morbidity rates – allowing otherwise healthy people to avoid the death and hospitalization rates initially associated with the novel coronavirus.
However, each of the three widely available vaccines had a timeframe for full effectiveness – meaning that boosters are required to keep your body as protected as possible against complication from infection.
By utilizing vaccine boosters, you can further enhance or fully restore the immune defense that can decrease over time following your primary series vaccination. And to ensure optimal outcomes, you should follow a vaccination/booster timeline as set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Yet it is never too late to enjoy the benefits afforded by a COVID-19 booster, and the healthcare professionals at Wills Memorial Hospital recommend that everyone eligible receive a COVID-19 booster.
If you have any questions, you should always talk with your primary care provider. Also understand that there are different COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. Regardless, please familiarize yourself with COVID-19 booster guidelines and determine whether you are eligible and in need of additional immunization.
What does a COVID-19 booster co?
A booster shot simply reinforces the work already done by initial vaccination. In short, the COVID-19 vaccine provides your body’s immune system with a dead COVID-19 virus to study and learn how to respond. This allows your body to respond efficiently and effectively should it come into contact with a live version of the novel coronavirus.
This includes increased protection against all known COVID-19 variants in circulation.
And just like initial immunizations, boosters are readily available for everyone in need.
Do I need a COVID-19 booster?
The short answer is that just about everyone who received the initial COVID-19 vaccination should receive at least one booster. However, the CDC established unique recommendations for COVID-19 boosters based on criteria that include:
- Timing (boosters should, ideally, be delivered within a specific timeframe after receiving initial immunization)
- Original COVID-19 vaccine received
- Immune status (specifically if you are immunocompromised)
There are two rounds of booster shots now available for use following initial COVID-19 vaccination.
However, healthy individuals under the age of 50 are not recommended to receive the second booster at this time. That means that most people should receive only one booster following the initial round of immunization.
COVID-19 booster guidelines & timeframes
It is not a problem to receive a booster that is different from your initial vaccination – in other words, you can take whatever booster brand you prefer, regardless of whether you initially received a Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine
However, it is important that you remember which COVID-19 vaccination you received when determining your timeline for a booster. Those who received Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccinations should wait up to five months to receive a booster, while those who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine should receive their first booster earlier.
The CDC established these booster guidelines based on the varying factors above:
Patients with initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations (which are available for the widest range of ages):
Ages 5-11 who are immunocompromised are eligible for a first Pfizer booster shot five months or more after their initial 2-dose series.
Ages 12 and older who originally received a Pfizer-BioNTech are eligible for a first booster shot at five months or more after their initial 2-dose series.
A second booster of Pfizer-BioNTech should be delivered at least four months after the first booster for children and teens who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. However, a second booster is not recommended for any healthy patient under age 50.
Patients with initial Moderna vaccinations:
Ages 18 and older who originally received a Moderna COVID vaccine are eligible for a booster shot at five months or more after their initial 2-dose series.
A second booster of Moderna should be delivered at least 4 months after the first booster for patients over age 18 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. However, a second booster is not recommended for any healthy patient under age 50.
Patients with Johnson & Johnson vaccinations:
1st booster: CDC recommends a booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for most people, at least two months after the primary dose of J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
2nd Booster: CDC recommends an additional booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 4fourmonths after the first booster only for adults ages 50 years and older or people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
To read the latest information on vaccine boosters, visit the CDC website here.
Where can I receive a booster in my community?
There are several vaccination providers throughout east Georgia and nearby Wilkes County, and you can receive a booster anywhere that you received an initial vaccination.
Click here to find a local vaccination location and contact any of them for more information or to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment. And please stay up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccines by following the current recommendations found here.