What to know about the vaccine booster shots
Despite the hopes of health experts, presidents, and ordinary people everywhere, COVID-19 continues to affect the United States and the world as a whole. Although numbers have declined somewhat in recent weeks, cases are still far higher than they should be.
The good news is that numerous studies show that Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines effectively protect yourself and those around you from the virus. By getting vaccinated and continuing to practice modest social distance guidelines, you’re doing your part to help the world climb out of the pandemic.
Over the past few months, some of the major pharmaceutical companies have come out with vaccine booster shots. These are supposed to further protect you from COVID-19 and especially from the latest and deadliest variants.
But are these booster shots necessary, or are they nothing more than a Big Pharma ploy to make money?
As mentioned, all three of the vaccines available in the U.S. have high efficacy rates. The Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective at preventing infection, the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective, and the Johnson & Johnson is 66.3% effective. On the macro level, even the comparatively low efficacy of the J&J vaccine can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Despite these promising numbers, health experts are unclear how long infection resistance lasts. Because of that, some believe that a third (or second) booster shot may be necessary. Preliminary data supports that claim, showing that a booster shot helps increase the immune response in people who received the vaccine six months in the past.
Who can get the booster shot?
As of now, the general public doesn’t have access to Pfizer’s booster shot. Only specific segments of the population can get it.
Adults over the age of 65 can get the shot, as can adults over 50 with underlying health conditions. People over the age of 18 with certain medical conditions may also be eligible for it. However, the CDC emphasizes that right now, they’re prioritizing people over the age of 50. Younger people should consider their individual risks and benefits before signing up to get it.
Finally, the CDC also recommends that people in high-risk jobs receive the booster shot. This includes first responders, teachers, grocery store workers, and several other occupations.
Should everyone get a shot in the future?
At this point, the original vaccine shots should be enough to protect the general population from infection. While breakthrough cases do (in very rare cases) occur, symptoms are much milder. Most vaccinated people who do get sick end up being just fine.
However, as mentioned, it’s unclear how long the vaccines will keep people protected. If cases continue to stay high, more vaccinated people may start to get sick as time goes on. To prevent another surge, booster shots may become necessary.
As medical experts gather additional research, they’ll continue to update the public.
Vaccine booster shot: The verdict
Right now, only certain segments of the population should worry about getting the vaccine booster shot. The best thing most people can do is receive the initial vaccine if they haven’t gotten it already.
In the future, health experts may recommend that everyone gets a booster shot. Keep up to date with the latest CDC guidelines to know for sure!