Do I Need A Booster Jab If Ive Already Had Covid
Booster jabs are now rolling out across the UK for people at the most risk from COVID-19.
But given that being fully vaccinated on top of a previous COVID infection provides such strong protection, should we be already offering people in this group a booster jab?
Tim says, â If youâre not yet eligible for a booster, but have had a previous infection and two vaccines, I wouldn’t be too worried as your protection will be very high. Itâs important we focus on the number of high-risk people who remain unvaccinated, which is still too high, as we fall behind the rest of Europe, slowing our progress in reducing rates of infection and bringing the pandemic to an end.â
Do You Need A Booster If You Had Covid And Got The Vaccine
After a lot of back and forth about whos eligible for booster shots in the United States right now, health officials finally seem to have settled on a pretty clear and comprehensive list.
Youre eligible if you got either of the two mRNA vaccines and youre 65 or older, or live in a long-term care setting, or have certain underlying health conditions, or work in a high-risk setting. You can only receive it if its been six months since your last dose.
If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, youre eligible for a booster if youre 18 or older and its been two months since your initial dose.
But what about people who got vaccinated and also have natural immunity because theyve had COVID-19? According to studies, cases like these may provide the highest degree of protection against severe illness. Should they still get a booster? And when? Heres what we know now:
Why You Should Be Vaccinated Even If Youve Already Had Covid
Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine is pictured at Rady Children’s Hospital before it’s placed back in the … refrigerator in San Diego, California on December 15, 2020.
A case of Covid-19 almost always results in an immune response that provides protection against being infected again. Nevertheless, the CDC recommends people whove had Covid-19 should be vaccinated. Here at Forbes, Bruce Lee and William Haseltine have said the same thing.
However, many people are still asking why? Here are four reasons.
Also Check: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
How Can I Help Covid Vaccine Research
Itâs vital that we continue to gather as much data as possible on the spread of COVID and the impact of vaccination.
You can now log any COVID vaccine in the ZOE COVID Study app, including boosters and vaccines received as part of a clinical trial. And weâll soon be adding the ability to log vaccines for other diseases including flu.
To get involved, simply and start logging daily health reports as well as your vaccinations. It only takes a minute, but youâll be contributing to life-saving research.
Stay safe and keep logging.
Should Cancer Patients And Survivors Get The Vaccine
Many expert medical groups recommend that most people with cancer or a history of cancer get the COVID-19 vaccine once its available to them.
The main concern about getting the vaccine is not whether its safe for people with cancer, but about how effective it will be, especially in people with weakened immune systems. Some cancer treatments like chemotherapy , radiation, stem cell or bone marrow transplant, or immunotherapy can affect the immune system, which might make the vaccine less effective. People with certain types of cancers, like leukemias or lymphomas, can also have weakened immune systems which might make the vaccine less effective.
The initial studies testing the COVID-19 vaccines did not include people getting treatment with drugs that suppress the immune system, like chemo, or people who have weakened immune systems for other reasons. This is because the studies needed to see first if the vaccines work in people with healthy immune systems. Because of this, its not yet clear how effective the vaccines might be in these groups of people.
Since the situation for every person is different, it is best to discuss the risks and benefits of getting one of the COVID-19 vaccines with your cancer doctor. They can advise you and tell you when you should receive it.
Don’t Miss: How Long Does It Take For Cvs Covid Test Results
Do I Still Need To Take Precautions If I Get The Covid
The COVID-19 vaccines are still being studied, as there are things we dont yet know about them. For example, researchers are still trying to determine how long the COVID-19 vaccines will help protect against the virus. And while the vaccines can clearly lower the risk of getting serious disease from COVID, its not yet clear how well they can prevent the spread of the virus to others.
For people who are fully vaccinated , the CDC has guidance on things you can now do , as well as what types of precautions you should still be taking. This guidance is being updated regularly, so check the CDC website for details. The CDC guidance may not apply if you have a weakened immune system , so its important to talk with your health care provider about which precautions you still need to take.
Should I Worry About Myocarditis
Myocarditis and pericarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, is a rare side effect linked to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and is mostly seen in adolescent males and men under 30. In one study, the CDC said that 54 kids out of one million males ages 12 to 17 experienced myocarditis following a second dose of Pfizer. In general, kids under 12 have a lower risk of myocarditis from other causes compared to adolescents, the CDC says, and the benefits of vaccinating for COVID-19 outweigh any known and potential risks.
By contrast, kids ages 5 to 11 have a higher risk of MIS-C, a potentially serious complication of COVID-19.
“The bottom line is that getting COVID is much riskier to the heart than anything in this vaccine, no matter what age or sex you have,” Dr. Matthew Oster said after a presentation on myocarditis prior to the CDC’s recommendation.
Side effects in kids ages 5 to 11 were mostly mild and similar to the side effects adults may experience after vaccination, according to the CDC.
Read Also: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
Fda To Hold Public Hearings Next Week To Discuss Vaccine
Another big unknown is how Covid-19 “long-haulers” may respond, said Michael Betts, an immunologist and professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
It’s not known how many people suffer from long-term symptoms from Covid-19, but a CDC study published in July found that 35 percent of adults who were symptomatic but were never sick enough to require hospitalization hadn’t returned to their usual health up to three weeks after their diagnoses.
Part of the challenge of assessing how those patients could be affected by a vaccine is that much is still unknown about why their symptoms persist.
“We really do not understand why these individuals are suffering like this, so my concern comes from the fact that we don’t know the reason for these long-haul situations,” Betts said.
Thomas said that without a clear grasp of why symptoms linger in certain patients, it’s difficult to know whether the immune response from a vaccine would be beneficial or detrimental.
“People who have chronic inflammatory conditions from Covid may fall into a category where you might not want all of a sudden to boost up the immune system,” Thomas said. “But it’s possible that it might also make them better, too. That’s how little we understand this.”
Betts said long-haulers may need to be evaluated individually so doctors can evaluate the potential risks and benefits. Those patients will also need to be closely monitored and evaluated over time, he said.
Covid Vaccine Waning Immunity: How Worried Should I Be
There have been warnings from doctors and the UK’s Health Security Agency that waning immunity is leading to deaths even of people who have had two doses of a Covid vaccine. So how much protection are we left with?
Let’s nail some basics. The immune system has two big roles – to stop us getting infected, and if that fails, to clear our bodies of an infection.
I want you to stretch your imagination and picture your immune system as a medieval castle.
Surrounding the castle is a hostile and ruthless army of coronaviruses desperate to break in.
Your first defence is an outer wall patrolled by a legion of archers. These are your body’s neutralising antibodies. If they can hold the viral army off, then you won’t get infected.
But if the walls crumble and the antibody-archers wander off, then the virus is in. It has stormed the castle and you now have an infection.
Yet all is not lost. There are still troops inside the fortified keep at the heart of the castle. These are your memory B and memory T cells. Like knights on horseback they can rally the troops, lead the immunological charge and send the hostile invaders packing.
The Covid vaccines have been training your body’s troops – this includes both antibodies and those memory cells that react to an infection – to take on coronavirus.
At least one of those defenders is waning and this is not a surprise. This happens after every vaccine or infection.
Read Also: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
Which Booster Shot Should I Get If I Got Pfizer
Both mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, have proven to be effective and continue to protect against severe disease caused by COVID-19. A study published by the CDC in September that compared vaccine effectiveness among adults in the real world found that two doses of Moderna’s vaccine were 93% effective at preventing hospitalization, two doses of Pfizer were 88% effective and one dose of Johnson & Johnson was 71% effective.
Pfizer’s booster is the same dose as its original vaccine , while Moderna’s booster is half the size of its original vaccine. Johnson & Johnson’s booster is also the same size as its original vaccine. In a study that examined people’s responses to all three vaccines as boosters, people who originally got Pfizer had the strongest antibody response to a Moderna booster. However, that study examined a full dose of Moderna , rather than the authorized half-dose of the company’s booster, which likely minimizes Moderna’s edge over Pfizer, The Atlantic reported.
For most adults who were vaccinated with Pfizer, sticking with another dose of Pfizer makes the most sense, Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of UC San Francisco’s Department of Medicine, told the Los Angeles Times.
No One Should Get The J& j Vaccine Right Now As You Have Likely Heard
“CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine in the United States out of an abundance of caution, effective Tuesday, April 13,” said the CDC this week. “People who have received theJ& J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccinewithin the past three weeks who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath should seek medical care right away.”
Don’t Miss: How Much Is Cvs Covid Testing
Should I Get Vaccinated If Ive Already Had Covid
Our findings show that COVID-19 infection before double vaccination provides much greater protection, which supports the call for everyone to get vaccinated even if theyâve already had COVID.
Reassuringly, those who were infected in the first wave back in Spring 2020, we also found that the protection from a previous COVID-19 infection didnât wane, up to 450 days after the infection, independent of whether the person was vaccinated or not.
Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app, says: âRegardless of which vaccine is administered, this latest research shows that having a natural COVID-19 infection before being fully vaccinated does mean greater protection. This is really positive news for overall immunity levels in the UK, and means that large numbers of people will have effective and long lasting protection from COVID-19.â
Ive Had Covid Do I Need A Vaccine
MIT Medical answers your COVID-19 questions. Got a question about COVID-19? Send it to us at , and well do our best to provide an answer.
I have a friend who survived COVID-19 back in December 2020. I remember speaking to him on the phone when he was self-isolating. He was coughing so much that he couldnt even talk. Now he keeps asking when he can come visit. He says he doesnt need to get vaccinated, but I think he should get vaccinated just like everyone else if he wants to visit friends. Am I right?
Yes, you are right. According to CDC guidance and everything we know of the science, your friend absolutely should be vaccinated. Thats because we have been able to confirm that people who have recovered from COVID-19 can become reinfected. While current evidence suggests that reinfection doesnt usually occur during the first couple of months after recovery from COVID-19, the risk of reinfection increases with time, as immunity from natural infection decreases. New viral variants may increase the risk of reinfection even more.
This news story has not been updated since the date shown. Information contained in this story may be outdated. For current information about MIT Medicals services, please see relevant areas of the MIT Medical website.
Also Check: How Much Is Covid Test At Cvs
Welcoming Family Into Your Home For Thanksgiving Here’s How To Keep Covid Out
But scientists say their best guess is that, by all accounts, people with hybrid immunity already have better immunity than vaccinated people who never got COVID-19 or people who got COVID-19 but not the vaccine.
“It’s fair to say that your immunity is likely going to be stronger so that the chance of getting sick, especially with the delta variant, is very, very low,” says Dr. Duane Wesemann, an immunologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Will The Vaccine Cause Side Effects In People Who’ve Had Covid
There have been some anecdotal reports of Covid survivors experiencing more severe side effects feeling achy, sick or even feverish after the first dose of vaccinations, Wohl says. “That makes complete sense, and shows you that the immune system is really responding to in a much more vigorous way,” he says.
But this isn’t a reason to skip the vaccine. “Vaccination is still safe after you’ve recovered from Covid,” Fauci said in a Thursday.
Also Check: How Long Does Cvs Rapid Test Take
The Impact Of The Study
Researchers said their study revealed that in Kentucky residents who had COVID-19 in late 2020, those who remained unvaccinated were 2.34 times more likely to contract the virus again than those who were fully vaccinated.
While the report supports the notion that an infection offers some immunological boost for about 90 days, it points to a higher symptomatic disease rate among the unvaccinated.
In addition, said Miller, those initial cases came before the Delta variant had officially come on the scene in the United States.
This is really critical , said Alyson Cavanaugh , DPT, MPH, PhD, an author of the study who serves as a CDC epidemic intelligence service officer.
Physicians and all healthcare providers are asked about this all the time, Cavanaugh told Healthline. They want and now have the science behind it.
Experts hope the findings persuade those whove had the disease to get vaccinated.
That this was done pre-Delta makes this even more compelling, Miller noted. If you had COVID-19 , chances are you had the Wuhan or the Alpha. With Delta out there a stronger virus we all need to pay attention to this information. I do think this will help .
Joan Parker of Tennessee had COVID-19 last fall.
Nevertheless, the findings from the CDC report arent changing her plans to get vaccinated.
Ive decided until my job requires it or it directly impacts travel , Im not getting the vaccine yet, Parker told Healthline. Never saying never. Just not right now.
Is It Safe For Cancer Patients To Get Any Type Of Vaccine
People with cancer can get some vaccines, but this depends on many factors, such as the type of vaccine, the type of cancer a person has , if they are still being treated for cancer, and if their immune system is working properly. Because of this, its best to talk with your doctor before getting any type of vaccine. To learn more, see Vaccinations and Flu Shots for People with Cancer.
Read Also: Cvs Pcr Test Cost
The Cdc’s Official Recommendations
The CDC currently recommends that people get vaccinated against COVID-19, even if theyve had the virus. There are some caveats, though. The CDC recommends waiting 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine if you received a monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma treatment when you had the virus. If you have a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults or children , the CDC also recommends delaying the vaccine until youve recovered and its been 90 days since you were diagnosed.
Most Read Nation & World Stories
Fragments of the virus may also persist in the body for weeks after infection, which gives the immune system more time to learn to fight it, while the proteins carried by the vaccine quickly exit the body.
Several studies have now shown that reinfections, at least with the earlier versions of the virus, are rare.
At the Cleveland Clinic, none of 1,359 health care workers who remained unvaccinated after having COVID-19 tested positive for the virus over many months, noted Dr. Nabin Shrestha, an infectious disease physician at the clinic.
Also Check: Pcr Test Cost Cvs