The Brink: How Do The Booster Shots Work The Vaccine Formulation For The Pfizer And Moderna Shots Hasnt Changed So How Much Additional Immunity Does A Booster Shot Give Does It Get People Back Up To The 90
Pierre:We know that the mRNA vaccines can give 94 or 95 percent protection after the first series of two shots, and a 98 percent reduction in severe complications. Both Pfizer and Moderna have done booster studies, and we know that Pfizer has submitted the results of the booster trial to the FDA, but we dont yet know what those results say, but we do know those studies were conducted in areas of the US where the Delta variant was gaining hold. I do think the results of that trial will provide some answers to the questions youve asked. The hope, though, is that because of the priming effect , it will allow the bodys immune system to react more aggressively to infection, to fight against any potential COVID infection. The immune-fighting cells have already been primed, so the theoretical conceptwhich we know happens with many other already FDA-approved vaccines like tetanus or whooping coughis that the booster doses increase immunity over time.
The Brink: Have The Majority Of People Who Are Immunocompromised Received Their Third Dose
Pierre:No. Which is whyeven though our phone lines are blowing up with calls from people interested in getting a booster shotat this time we are prioritizing getting third doses to people who are immunocompromised, to give good practical and protective immunity to people who werent able to fully benefit from those first two shots alone. The booster shots are not authorized to begin until September 20.
It Takes Time For The Vaccination To Provide Immunity
Clinical studies indicate that the vaccination may provide some protection around 12 days after the first dose is given, but you must get both doses in order to achieve full protection. When both doses are administered, the vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection.
On May 13, the CDC stated that people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks or maintain social distancing in most situations. However, the CDC also noted that people with weakened immune conditions, such as cancer, should talk to their healthcare provider about the need for protective measures even after vaccination. Therefore, to protect our patients from COVID-19, MSK requires that all staff, patients, and visitors must continue to wear masks while at MSK. This requirement includes people who are fully vaccinated.
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The Brink: Whats The Difference Between A Third Shot For Immunocompromised People And A Booster Shot
Pierre:The third dose is meant to connote giving another dose of vaccine to individuals believed not to be able to sustain or produce an adequate immune response to the first two shots in the series. For them, that third shot is not a booster, but is a needed additional shot in their primary vaccination series to allow them to develop an effective immune response against severe infection and death. People who are less likely to mount an appropriate immune response are people on steroids, who have received organ transplants, have severe HIV infections, or other conditions.
When To Get A Second Covid
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 after the first vaccine dose, it does not mean that you cannot take the second shot.
As per the advice of the Health Ministry, the second dose of the vaccine must be delayed for at least four to eight weeks after recovery.
The four-eight week delayed period of the second COVID-19 dose is applicable for:
- People with active symptoms of coronavirus.
- Patients with anti-COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma
- Patients who are acutely unwell and hospitalized who suffer from any other illness
As per the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention , asymptomatic COVID-19 patients can receive the second vaccine dose once they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation. CDC also emphasized that there are many factors that affect how a vaccine works in real-world conditions. Some of the key elements may include host, mutant variants, and programmatic factors like following dosing schedules or storing and handling vaccines properly.
Trials indicate that differences in timings for second doses help in achieving a high level of antibodies in the system. Missing the second dose may postpone the boosting of the antibodies.
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Schedule Time Off Post
âMy number one tip is to prepare for the side effects,â Afoma, 25, tells Bustle. âYou may be one of the lucky ones, but most people will have some degree of discomfort, so it really helped to take the shot knowing that I would be a bit off for a couple of days afterward.â Many people told Bustle they moved their work schedules around to give them time to recover. âJust plan on being sick the next day if you’re not, then it’s a bonus,â Jenna, 28, says.
What This Means For You
Early studies suggest that while side effects will vary by person, most people will experience only minor or moderate discomfort after the third dose of an mRNA vaccine. Any side effects are expected to diminish within 48 hours. In some places, like New York state, employers are required to grant workers paid time off to recover from vaccine side effects. Talk to your doctor and employer if youre concerned about the side effects of a booster shot and how to plan for them.
The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.
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If Your Vaccine Side Effects Last This Long Get A Covid Test Doctor Says
There’s a chance you’ll end up feeling sick after getting the COVID vaccine, which can be a nerve-wracking experience during a pandemic. Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that experiencing side effects after COVID vaccination is a normal response to your body building immunity, and not any cause for concern. However, if your side effects are sticking around a little longer than you expected, that could indicate that something is amiss. Experts say that if your vaccine side effects last too long, you may need to get tested for COVIDespecially since vaccine side effects and COVID symptoms can look quite similar. Read on to find out if you need a COVID test, and for more on vaccine reactions, This Vaccine Side Effect Could Mean You Already Had COVID, New Study Says.
When To Call The Doctor
In most cases, discomfort from pain or fever is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:
- If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours
- If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days
If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.
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Tips To Help You Identify And Minimize Mild Side Effects:
- Read the Vaccine Information that came with your scheduling invite to refresh your knowledge about side effects.
- Use an ice pack or cool, damp cloth to help reduce redness, soreness and/or swelling at the place where the shot was given.
- A cool bath can also be soothing.
- Drink plenty of liquids for 1-2 days after getting the vaccine.
- Take an over the counter pain reliever unless you have any specific contraindication.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention s v-safe after vaccination health checker is a smartphone-based tool that you can use to quickly tell the CDC if you have any side effects. Participation is voluntary and not a substitute for medical care.
Can Exercise Or Painkillers Reduce Side Effects
There have been some reports that exercising before getting jabbed can help stave off side effects, but Dr Quinn isn’t so sure.
“Exercise can impact your overall immune stimulation level, but I don’t think it’s going to be a super reliable way of controlling these particular side effects,” Dr Quinn said.
It may also be tempting to take painkillers, such as paracetamol, before getting vaccinated to block any side effects from showing up in the first place.
But the World Health Organization advises against taking painkillers beforehand, as it isn’t known whether they affect how well the vaccine works.
Fortunately, it’s perfectly fine to take painkillers after the jab to reduce uncomfortable symptoms, such as a sore arm and headache, Dr Cheng said.
“They really manage the symptoms and don’t dampen the immune response itself,” he said.
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Q: What About Taking A Pain Reliever After The Shot
Its OK to treat side effects with a pain reliever, said Dr. Offit, but if you dont really need one, dont take it.
While most experts agree its safe to take a pain reliever to relieve discomfort after you get vaccinated, they advise against taking it after the shot as a preventive or if your symptoms are manageable without it. The concern with taking an unnecessary pain reliever is that it could blunt some of the effects of the vaccine.
Understand Vaccine and Mask Mandates in the U.S.
During the Moderna trial, about 26 percent of people took acetaminophen to relieve side effects, and the overall efficacy of the vaccine still was 94 percent.
Pick Your Arm For Your Shot Wisely
Youâll be given a choice at your appointment: getting your shot in your dominant arm or your non-dominant arm. Think carefully about it. âGet vaccinated in your non-dominant arm, because your arm may be sore for a few days with both sets of shots,â Anne Marie, 44, advises Bustle. But there are other considerations, too. âMy big tip is if you’re a side sleeper, get the shot onthe other side, even if it’s your dominant side,â Kate, 39, tells Bustle. âMy arm was so sore, I couldn’t get comfortable, and so I was horrid the next two or three days.â
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Make Sure You Have Appropriate Pain Remedies
Generally speaking, acetaminophen-based painkillers are being recommended by doctors and the CDC to deal with post-vaccine symptoms. This is because acetaminophen isnât an anti-inflammatory, and inflammation is key to your immune response, though experts say any potential effect of taking an anti-inflammatory is probably negligible. âDrink lots of water and alternate between Motrin and Tylenol in order to reduce your temperature if you have one,â Anne Marie, 44, says.
Kelsey, 35, tells Bustle that she and her husband had their Johnson & Johnson vaccines on the same day. She popped an Advil when she noticed some aches and then developed fevers and chills. âI feel like taking pain relief earlier may have helped me stave off worse pain overall,â she says. Her husband, meanwhile, waited to take any pain relief until well into his 102.4 degree fever the next day. âHe suffered all day long,â she says.
If thatâs not an option for you, though, prepare beforehand. âI’m allergic to both acetaminophen and ibuprofen,â Karina, 23, says. When she ended up with a fever post-vaccine, she couldnât use either medicine to cool her body temperature. âI spoke with the pharmacist and she told me to use environmental factors to cool myself down. I used my handheld shower head to soak my scalp, but I refused to soak my butt-length hair because wet hair is the last thing I wanted to deal with.â
Should I Get An Antibody Test After The Vaccine To Make Sure Its Working
Antibody testing is not currently recommended check someones immunity to COVID-19 following either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. The COVID-19 antibody test used at MSK detects the immune response after being infected by COVID-19. It does not measure immunity that results from the vaccine. Thats why it should not be routinely ordered to assess vaccine response.
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What You Need To Know
- If you receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you will need 2 shots to get the most protection.
- COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. If you received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should get the same product for your second shot.
- You should get your second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get it.
- If you have a weakened immune system due to other diseases or medications, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine if you have not had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.
- People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses.
Everything You Need To Know About Covid Booster Shots
BU epidemiologist explains why coronavirus vaccine boosters are necessary, whether theyll protect against the Delta variant, more
How do booster shots work? Am I eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot? Why are these booster shots needed? What is the difference between a booster shot and a third dose for immunocompromised people? Will members of the Boston University community be able to get additional shots through the Universitys vaccine clinic? People are looking for answers to these questions and to many more.
Over time, even very effective vaccines wane in terms of how effective they are, said Judy Platt, chair of BUs Medical Advisory Group, cochair of the Vaccine Preparedness Group, and Student Health Services director, at the recent BU-wide town hall meeting August 19. The same is true for our relatively new coronavirus vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended a booster dose to enhance the efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, starting as soon as September 20 for individuals at least eight months after their second vaccine dose .
To help answer common questions about the coronavirus booster shots, The Brink spoke with Cassandra Pierre, a Boston Medical Center associate hospital epidemiologist and medical director of public health programs. Pierre is also a BU School of Medicine assistant professor of medicine and chairs the schools Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.
How Does The Pfizer Covid
COVID-19 vaccines work by using a harmless version or component of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to train the immune system, so when we encounter the virus for real weâre able to fight it off.
This âtrainingâ response can feel a bit like the effects we get when weâre fighting off a real infection. These whole body effects include headaches, fever, chills or shivers, tiredness , muscle or joint pains, diarrhoea and feeling sick .
Itâs also common to experience local effects like pain, swelling, redness or itchiness at the site of the injection, or swelling of the glands in the armpit.
While they may make you feel grotty, all these effects are a sign that your immune system is kicking into action to protect you from COVID-19.
At the same time, donât worry if you donât experience any of these effects after your vaccine. Your immune system will still be learning to respond to the virus.
Why Should You Get The Second Dose Even If You Have Tested Positive After The First Shot
If you are one among many who have tested positive for novel coronavirus after your first COVID-19 vaccine shot, first of all, know that you must go ahead and take the second dose by all means.
Be clear about one thing – the COVID-19 vaccine has not caused you coronavirus disease. As a matter of fact, COVID-19 vaccines are disease-modifying vaccines. Once you have been administered both the doses, you will develop antibodies, and chances of severe infection, as well as death, will become lower. Vaccination will reduce your chances of being hospitalized due to coronavirus disease by 85%.
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As per the ICMR data on the vaccine, COVID-19 vaccines are effective on various coronavirus variants that are currently mutating. In the forthcoming time, we may have variants that minimize the vaccines effect, say experts. In such a situation, it is important to continuously follow the coronavirus protocols and get vaccinated.
So, even if you get infected after the first vaccine dose, do not think you dont need the second shot.
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Q: Will The Vaccines Work Against The New Variants That Have Emerged Around The World
The vaccines appear to be effective against a new variant that originated in Britain and is quickly becoming dominant in the United States. But some variants of the coronavirus, particularly one first identified in South Africa and one in Brazil, appear to be more adept at dodging antibodies in vaccinated people.
While that sounds worrisome, theres reason to be hopeful. Vaccinated people exposed to a more resistant variant still appear to be protected against serious illness. And scientists have a clear enough understanding of the variants that they already are working on developing booster shots that will target the variants. The variants identified in South Africa and Brazil are not yet widespread in the United States.
People who are vaccinated should still wear masks in public and comply with public health guidelines, but you shouldnt live in fear of variants, said Dr. Peter J. Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. If youre vaccinated, you should feel pretty confident about how protected you are, said Dr. Hotez. Its unlikely youll ever go to a hospital or an I.C.U. with Covid-19. In time youre going to see a recommendation for a booster.
I hope these answers will reassure you about your own vaccine experience. You can find a more complete list of questions and answers in our special vaccine tool Answers to All Your Questions About Getting Vaccinated Against Covid-19.