Things you should know about COVID-19 Booster shot

Get ready for the third dose of COVID-19 Vaccine. But this time, it's not just a vaccine, as there is more to that. American president Joe Biden recently announced that Americans would be getting booster shots after eight months of the second dose of Pfizer's or Moderna's messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.

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If you have no idea what is the booster shot and whether you should get it or not. This article will explain all you need to know about booster shots and when to get them.

A few days back, People who were fully vaccinated were satisfied that they are fully protected now. But, the recent announcement from the health professionals stated that we might need another shot in the arms in the form of a booster shot.

In mid-August, it was announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had updated their Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to allow certain individuals with low immunity to get an additional dosage of their COVID-19 Vaccine.

After a few days, President Biden's administration advised that all Americans receive the third dose of their Pfizer or Moderna vaccination eight months after their second dose, starting from September 20. But this suggestion is still dependent on the FDA, which is still determining whether the boosters are safe and effective. We will know in the upcoming weeks.

When should you get a Covid-19 vaccine booster?

Well, there is no need to rush. People will start receiving the Booster shot in September, and only those eligible who received the second dose of (either Pfizer or Moderna).

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However, this matter is still dependent on FDA and other administrations. In this regard, the FDA is working to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of booster shots. The final decision will be made by ACIP, who will decide whether the individual should receive a booster shot or not.

Who will be the first to receive a booster shot?

If the FDA and ACIP approve the booster shot, those eligible individuals and those at the most risk will be the first to receive the booster shot. For instance, older people, Healthcare workers, etc. 

Why do we need a booster shot? Does it mean that vaccines are not working? 

There is no need to worry about this. Vaccines work perfectly against the newest Delta variant; however, health specialists noticed that such vaccines had lowered the immunity against other diseases.

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It has also been noticed that such vaccines have lower immunity against the lethal Delta Variant. This is why the American administration plans to provide Booster shots to the people to ensure their complete safety.

Are booster shots effective?

Although, the vaccines have worked perfectly to prevent severe illness and to protect people from Delta variants. However, they have recently been losing ground against infection.

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A study conducted by CDC revealed that Moderna and Pfizer vaccines lost their effectiveness from 74% to 33% in June and July. Other than that, many studies revealed the same figures that Vaccines are losing their effectiveness. To deal with this, Health authorities planned to give people a third vaccine shot in the form of a Booster shot to improve their immunity against the dangerous Delta Variant. 

A current UK trial examines various booster combinations, including employing a distinct vaccine from the previous vaccines. Initial research on this ' mix and match' approach suggests that they may result in more powerful immune responses, with high antibodies and T cell levels, killing infected cells and promoting other antiviral reactions.

So, in short, Booster shots are highly effective.

Allow the most vulnerable to go first.

The researchers advised that those who received vaccines in December or January and those at the most risk should be prioritized first. Those people include Nursing home and long-term care facility residents and staff, elderly Americans, and front-line health care workers.

In this context, the CDC revealed multiple kinds of research indicating that, while immunizations are very effective against serious disease, protection against infection may wane over time.

How effective are vaccines in generating an immune response?

There is no doubt that vaccines generate highly effective responses among severe illnesses related to Covid-19. But due to the rise of the Delta variant, the issue has been raised regarding the effectiveness of Vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna.

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Prof. Sir Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, stated that:

“People who have been vaccinated can still become infected with the Delta variant. And that means that anyone who is still unvaccinated will come into contact with the virus at some point, and we don't have anything that will completely stop the virus from spreading”

 Moderna and Pfizer's spokespeople have also stated that an additional booster shot of the COVID-19 Vaccine would be sufficient to keep the Delta variant at bay.

Such individuals who got the Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine require a booster shot?

People who received a J&J COVID-19 vaccination are likely to require a booster dose. Because the J&J/Janssen vaccine was not administered in the United States until 70 days after the initial mRNA vaccine doses (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), the data required for this determination are not yet available. These figures are set to be released in the following weeks. With this data in hand, the CDC will keep the public informed about J&J/Janssen booster injections promptly.

The difference between a Booster shot and the third shot?

Vaccines may not have provided adequate protection to transplant patients and those with compromised immune systems to begin with. They can now receive a third dose at least 28 days after receiving their second injection as part of the initial set of vaccinations required to be completely immunized. Boosters are administered much later after complete vaccination to people with normal immune systems, not to create protection but to fire up the immune system.

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On the other hand, a "booster shot" is a dose of a vaccine given to someone who developed enough protection following immunization but then saw that protection wane over time (this is called waning immunity). HHS has devised a strategy to begin administering COVID-19 booster injections to patients in the upcoming weeks. But still, this project is subject to FDA approval and ACIP endorsement.

Final Verdict

There is no denying the importance of vaccines in protecting against Covid-19, and most vaccinated people are already protected. However, the recent studies revealed that Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech have been ineffective against the lethal Delta Variant. 

As a result, the US government has declared that booster shots will be available beginning September 20, 2021, which are yet to be approved by CDC and FDA. Those individuals who meet are 18 or older and received the Pfizer, or Moderna vaccines will receive the booster shot.

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