Who Should Get A Booster Shot
For now, federal regulators have not approved COVID-19 vaccine boosters for the majority of Americans.;
However, the CDC urges some people to get;another shot. Anyone who had a two-dose series of;the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines who has a;moderately to severely compromised immune system should get a third dose, the CDC advises.;
That’s because people who are immunocompromised might not build up the same level of immunity from the vaccines;as healthier people.;
The recommendation for a booster includes people who:;
- Are being treated for tumors or cancers of the blood.
- Received an organ transplant and are taking;immune-suppressing medication.;
- Received a stem cell transplant in the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
- Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency, such as DiGeorge syndrome or;Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
- Have advanced or untreated HIV infection.
- Are undergoing treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress immune response.
On Friday, the FDA’s;Vaccines;and Related;Biological Products;Advisory;Committee voted to recommend a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for Americans ages 65 and older and for people who have other underlying health conditions that put them at high risk for severe complications from COVID-19. Those conditions include diabetes and obesity.;
Should I Be Worried About Vaccine Safety
Over the past months, millions of people in the U.S. have been safely vaccinated. The FDA has fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, and may fully approve other coronavirus vaccines in the future. The FDA and CDC continue to carefully monitor each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines for safety concerns.
These organizations are being thorough and transparent. One example is that in April 2021 the CDC and FDA paused administration of the J&J vaccine so they could review data on a few reported cases of serious blood clots following vaccination with that vaccine. After this review, the FDA and CDC determined that the benefits of the J&J vaccine outweigh the risk of this very rare side effect, and authorized vaccination with the J&J shot to resume.
Similarly, after observing rare occurrences of myocarditis following the second injection of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC released information for the public.
They will continue to communicate with the public about their findings and any possible safety issues with this or any other COVID-19 vaccine. Any potential safety risks of COVID-19 vaccines must be weighed against the known serious risk of harm due to the COVID-19 infection and the benefits of protection that the vaccines offer.
What Are My Risks Of A Breakthrough Infection
Large-scale data is still trickling in, but a London;study;released in early September 2021 was encouraging.
The data, gathered from December 8, 2020, through July 4, 2021, show that, of more than 1.2 million adults who got a first dose, fewer than 0.5% reported a breakthrough infection two weeks or more after getting the vaccination. Among people who got both shots, fewer than 0.2% got such an infection during the same period.;
Even better: The odds of a fully vaccinated person who does catch COVID-19 needing a hospital stay shrank by more than two-thirds, compared with an unvaccinated coronavirus patient. The survey also found that the risk of patients suffering from long COVID, with symptoms lasting more than a month, were cut in half by full vaccination.
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How Have The Vaccines Performed The Real World Are They Working As Well As They Did In Clinical Trials
In a study published online in MMWR, the CDC reported that people who had received both doses of either mRNA vaccine were 90% less likely to get infected with COVID-19 than people who were not vaccinated. In clinical trials, the vaccines were 95% and 94.1% effective.
The MMWR study enrolled 3950 adults who were at high risk of exposure to the virus due to their jobs and followed them for 13 weeks, beginning in mid-December 2020. About 63% of the study participants received both doses of vaccine during the study period and an additional 12% received one dose during the study. Each week, the study participants sent a nasal swab for PCR testing, and they reported any symptoms, allowing the researchers to identify both symptomatic and asymptomatic infections.
A total of 180 COVID-19 infections occurred during the study period. Of these, 161 infections were in people who were unvaccinated, compared to three infections in people who were fully vaccinated. Sixteen people who had received only their first vaccine dose at least two weeks earlier were infected. While this translates to one dose preventing 80% of infections, the study did not measure how well the vaccine protects people who do not get the second dose.
The researchers did not comment on variants, and the study was not designed to measure the effectiveness of the vaccines against them. However, its worth noting that several viral variants were circulating during the study period.
What Do I Need To Know About The Delta Variant
The Delta variant is different from previous SARS-CoV-2 variants that have made their way to the US. Its highly contagious and may cause more severe disease. It is also more likely than previous variants to be spread by vaccinated people experiencing breakthrough infections.
Evidence presented to the CDC showed the Delta variant to be much more contagious than previous variants, with a risk of transmission similar to chickenpox. It also appears that people who are infected can spread the virus for longer periods of time.
In addition, people who are vaccinated and then get infected can also spread the virus to others, perhaps to the same extent as those who are unvaccinated. This is also new; vaccinated people were much less likely to spread previous variants.
Finally, international studies point to the Delta variant being more likely to cause severe disease.
The good news is that while vaccination may be less effective at preventing infection and spread of the Delta variant, it is still highly protective against severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Get the COVID-19 vaccine if you have not already done so.
In July 2021, the CDC advised all people vaccinated and unvaccinated to wear masks in public indoor places, in areas of the country with substantial or high transmission of the virus. Given the threat posed by the Delta variant, its reasonable for everyone to start wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of the level of virus in your area.
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Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
In April 2021, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused while the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated a small number of cases of rare blood clots in people who had received that vaccine. Nearly all reports of this problem have been in adult women younger than age 50. After careful review, the FDA and CDC recommended that administration of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine could safely resume. Johns Hopkins Medicine followed these recommendations, temporarily pausing and then resuming use of the J&J vaccine.
But Which Covid Vaccine Is The Best
All three vaccines are extremely effective against COVID-19, according to the FDA.;
A study released by the CDC found that the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna can reduce the risk of even mild or moderate infection by 80% after just a single dose two or more weeks after infection, rising up to 90% effectiveness with the second shot.;
The Johnson & Johnson;vaccine is not quite as effective against milder illnesses as the other two — the CDC says it’s 66.3% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection — but it’s rated just as highly, nearly 100%,;for the part that matters most: preventing serious illness from COVID-19 that would lead to hospitalization or death.
That may not be a fair comparison between the three, however. The vaccines were tested in different trials with different circumstances. Pfizer and Moderna both tested for symptomatic COVID infections before the newer, highly contagious variants were discovered, whereas the Johnson & Johnson vaccine;also appeared to do well against the variants..;
On top of that, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is only one shot;and it doesn’t require the freezing cold storage that the other two vaccines do, making it much easier to ship and manage.;
“If you go to a place and you have J&J and that’s the one that’s available now, I would take it,” Fauci said. “I personally would do the same thing. I think people need to get vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible.”
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How Do Covid Vaccines Work
Pfizer and Moderna both require two shots. The Johnson & Johnson;vaccine only requires one.
Multi-dose vaccinations are very common. Nearly all vaccines recommended for children and adolescents and many adult vaccinations diptheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, etc. — require a series of more than one dose and sometimes three or four.
When a vaccine requires two shots, the first one tells your body what the virus is and gets your immune system ready, while the second one strengthens that response. In the Pfizer tests, the first shot seemed to be about 52% effective in protecting against COVID-19 and the second shot increased that to 95%.
Have There Been Any Covid
Issues concerning the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and a rare incidence of myocarditis after the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, as noted above have been reported.
Trials for the vaccines have had fully independent safety monitoring boards, and safety data are continuously reviewed by the FDA and expert panels. The number of serious problems in test participants was very low, and there was little difference between those who received the actual vaccine and those who received a placebo. Millions of people have received the vaccines since their authorization, and careful safety monitoring of all three COVID-19 vaccines continues.
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The Johnson & Johnson Covid
Theres little data that shows how effective the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is at protecting against the Delta variant. The company is also reportedly researching whether a second shot would boost immunity against the variants.
A recent clinical trial suggested that the vaccine was 85 percent effective against severe disease and demonstrated strong, persistent protection against hospitalization and death.
It also showed that the J&J vaccine prompted neutralizing antibody activity, which stops the virus from infecting healthy cells, against the Delta variant at a higher level than it did for the beta variant.
The Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines had shown a decline in effectiveness against the latter in another study.
Interim results from a study involving 20 people have shown that the J&J vaccine neutralized the Delta variant within 29 days of the first shot, and protection improved over time.
Current data for the eight months studied so far show that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine generates a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not wane; rather, we observe an improvement over time. In addition, we observe a persistent and particularly robust, durable cellular immune response, said Dr. Mathai Mammen, the global head of Janssen Research & Development at Johnson & Johnson, in a July 1 press release.
The data has sparked discussions about a possible booster for the one-shot vaccine.
Should You Get A Covid Vaccine During Pregnancy
The CDC updated its guidance in August to recommend that;people who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should get vaccinated against COVID-19, citing a growing amount of data verifying the safety of the vaccines during pregnancy.
“I would say if you’re pregnant, not only is it a good idea to get the vaccine on the basis of safety, but it’s highly effective and important because you are at increased risk of bad outcomes if you get COVID,” said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.;
Although pregnant people were not included in the initial clinical trials, tens of thousands of pregnant women have now gotten the shots safely.;Additional research;has found no safety issues and no increased risk of miscarriage.
Many;doctors;say the shots are especially important because of the known risk of severe illness from COVID-19 during pregnancy.
“I recommend highly that all pregnant women be immunized, from initial discovery of the pregnancy right up to term,” Dr. Bob Lahita, professor of medicine New York Medical College and chairman of medicine St. Joseph University Hospital, said on CBSN. He said there is “no evidence” that the vaccine “has any effect on the placenta, on the fetus, on the mother. Except if one gets the infection, the COVID, and you are pregnant, you run the risk of becoming very, very sick.”
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Our Covid Vaccine Experience During The Past Six Months
By the time the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines were approved for emergency use in the United States in December 2020, “we already knew the short-term side effects very well from the efficacy studies,” Goepfert said. Pfizer and Moderna and later Johnson & Johnson and then Novavax, which reported on its Phase III trial results in June 2021 “all have enrolled 30,000-plus individuals, half of whom got the vaccine and half of whom got a placebo initially, after which all the placebo group got the vaccine,” Goepfert said.
The side effects seen in these studies, and again in the nationwide rollouts that began in December 2020, “were tolerability issues,” Goepfert said: “mainly things like arm pain and fatigue and headache. They are very transient and occur a day or two days after the vaccine” and then resolve quickly.
As of June 12, 2021, more than 2.33 billion COVID vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, according to the New York Times vaccinations tracker.
Between December and June, “we have seen the more-rare things that you don’t find until you start giving the vaccines to millions of people, the side effects that occur in about one in 100,000 or one in a million people,” Goepfert said.
How Is Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis Diagnosed
To diagnose CVST, doctors collect a medical history, perform a physical exam, and order imaging studies and bloodwork.
The doctor will gather information about the medical history, including what symptoms are present, when they began, whether symptoms have worsened in recent days, and whether there are any underlying medical conditions associated with CVST.
During the physical exam, the doctor will evaluate the patient for signs and symptoms associated with CVST.
Imaging studies are essential to diagnosis of CVST. The most commonly used imaging tests for CVST are magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scans. The doctor may also order a magnetic resonance venogram or CT venogram of the brain. These are special types of scans that are used to visualize the veins and venous sinuses, which are the structures involved in CVST. In some cases, doctors may recommend another type of imaging study called an angiogram. This test produces an image of the blood vessels in the brain.
A diagnosis of CVST may also require blood tests to evaluate potential underlying causes. In some cases, the doctor will perform a lumbar puncture to collect cerebrospinal fluid for testing.
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Why Isn’t Natural Immunity Just As Good As A Vaccine
While a person who contracts coronavirus is likely to develop antibodies that;should provide some protection from reinfection for at least a little while, it’s unclear how long that protection will last.
The CDC urges everyone, including people who’ve already had COVID-19, to get vaccinated. The federal agency in August that;analyzed coronavirus reinfections from May to June among hundreds of fully vaccinated people and unvaccinated people in Kentucky.;
It found that those who were unvaccinated were more than twice as likely to be reinfected with the virus than;fully vaccinated people were.;
If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated, Walensky, the CDC director,;said in a statement. This study shows you are twice as likely to get infected again if you are unvaccinated. Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious delta variant spreads around the country.
If you had the virus and were treated with;monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, the CDC recommends waiting 90 days before getting a coronavirus vaccine.;;
When Will Children Be Able To Get The Covid
In May 2021, the FDA expanded its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents 12 to 15 years old. Previously, the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for use in children 16 years and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people 18 years and older. Moderna is also conducting age de-escalation studies, in which the vaccines are tested in groups of children of descending age. Johnson & Johnson plans to do the same.
The EUAs extended authorization was based on results from a Phase 3 trial testing its vaccine in children ages 12 to 15. The trial enrolled 2,260 adolescents; half received the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, the other received a saltwater placebo. The immune response in the vaccinated adolescent group was even stronger than that in vaccinated 16- to 25-year-olds enrolled in an earlier study. In addition, a total of 16 symptomatic cases of COVID-19 were reported during the trial, all in the placebo group. Vaccine-related side effects were mild and included pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever, and joint pain. Pfizer has also started testing the vaccine in children younger than 12 years.
The age de-escalation studies are done to confirm that the vaccines are safe and effective for each age group. They also identify the optimal dose, which must be effective, but with tolerable side effects.
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Will I Need Booster Shots Against Covid
Many scientists think its likely booster shots will be required, though whether yearly or every few years isnt known. And as more variants emerge, different shots may be developed to deal with them. But studies are being done to find out.
According to that same;Pfizer study, volunteers remained more than 90% protected against symptomatic COVID-19 and even better;protected against severe disease six month after getting a second dose.
Contributors: Elizabeth Weise, Karen Weintraub
C. A. Bridges is a Digital Producer for the USA TODAY Network. Follow him on Twitter at