What To Know About Booster Shots And Third Doses Of The Covid
Increasingly, research shows many people who have weakened immune systems havent been able to receive full protection from their COVID-19 vaccines. Unlike healthy people whove been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, immunocompromised peoples bodies may not produce enough protective antibodies after two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. This could leave them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, especially as more contagious variants circulate in a community.
Thats why federal health authorities announced in mid-August that they would allow immunocompromised people to get special, additional doses of the Moderna and Pfizer /BioNTech vaccines and said later they’d begin booster shots for healthy, immunized people later this fall.
As an infectious diseases specialist and hospital epidemiologist at the University of Chicago Medicine, I think its critical that people understand why this extra dose is needed and why not everyone needs one just yet. Heres what you need to know about the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccination Card And Your Second Shot
At your first vaccination appointment, you should have received a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Bring this vaccination card to your second vaccination appointment.
- If you did not receive a COVID-19 vaccination card at your first appointment, contact the vaccination provider site where you got your first shot or your state health department to find out how you can get a card.
- If you have lost your vaccination card or dont have a copy, contact your vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record.
- If you cannot contact your vaccination provider directly, contact your state health departments immunization information system . You can find state IIS information on the CDC website. Vaccination providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to their IIS and related systems.
- If you enrolled in v-safe or VaxText after your first vaccine dose, you can access your vaccination information using those tools.
- If you have made every effort to locate your vaccination information, are unable to get a copy or replacement of your vaccination card, and still need a second shot, talk to a vaccination provider.
Do We Have To Show Proof Of Being High Risk Due To An Underlying Medical Condition Or That We Live Or Work In A Place That Puts Us At High Risk For Severe Covid
It will work on the honor system, Schaffner says. In other words, you show up and say youre eligible, you wont be quizzed about it, and the location, whether its a pharmacy or vaccination site, will give you the booster.
This is the same procedure we already have in place for people who are immunocompromised. All they have to do is show up and say, Im in an immunocompromised group, and they get the third dose.
Don’t Miss: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results
Bill: Petri: Ss: Inline: 1jpg
The mRNA vaccines are uniquely capable of inducing a special kind of immune cell called a T-follicular helper cell to help B-cells produce antibodies. The T-cells do this through direct contact with the B-cells and by sending chemical signals that tell the B-cells to produce antibodies. It is this help in antibody production that makes these vaccines so effective.
But not all B-cells are the same. There are two kinds that make anti-spike antibodies: long-lived plasma cells and memory B-cells. The long-lived plasma cells, as their name implies, live in the bone marrow for years after vaccination, continuously churning out antibody in this case anti-spike antibody. These long-lived B-cells do not need to be boosted.
The memory B-cells, on the other hand, live in a state akin to hibernation. They do not produce antibodies until stimulated by a booster of the vaccine, or are exposed to infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That is the reason we need that second dose. Together these two types of B-cells provide a constant level of protection.
What Happens if You Dont Get the Pfizer or Moderna Second Dose On Time?
With current vaccine shortages, and problems with setting up the infrastructure to vaccinate millions of people, many physicians are concerned that the second dose of vaccine wont be delivered in the prescribed three- to four-week window.
What Happens If I Dont Get The Second Shot At All
We dont know exactly what will happen if you dont get the second shot because that hasnt been studied yet.
From what we do know so far, its likely that one shot isnt as effective as two shots. This means that if you just get one shot, you could still get sick with COVID-19.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were developed and studied using two shots, and we know that they are both extremely effective 94% and 95% at preventing COVID-19. Its possible that future studies will look to see how effective a single shot is. But for now its best to stick with what we know, which is that two shots work very well.
Recommended Reading: Did Hank Aaron Get Covid Vaccine
Can I Get The Booster Shot If I Got The Moderna Or Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
No, the FDA has only approved the Pfizer booster for those who received the Pfizer vaccine. It has not released a determination on whether it is effective to mix and match the three shots.
The FDA has also approved a booster shot from Moderna for a small group of people, including those 65 and older and those with a weakened immune system.
Why Does This Happen
COVID arm is thought to be an immune system reaction. Your immune cells are responding to the muscle cells which have absorbed the mRNA vaccine. The vaccine produces the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which the immune system thinks is an infection that needs to be fought. This is referred to as an overexuberant immune response.
Since the COVID-19 vaccines are new, we dont know definitively what exact mechanism triggers COVID arm symptoms. This reaction and others are continuing to be studied worldwide.
You May Like: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results
Will More People Eventually Need Additional Doses Of The Covid
Its almost certain that most people will eventually need to get booster shots or additional doses of the vaccines. However, we are still studying how long the vaccines will protect people. The good news is that people who are healthy should still have ample protection from their COVID-19 vaccines. While some healthy, vaccinated people do get COVID-19 infections, they are much less common than in unvaccinated people and they are much less severe. This is why its important for people who havent received their vaccine yet to get it right away.
Adapted from a story first published by UChicago Medicine.
Why Didnt We Know Third Doses Would Be Needed Before
Were still learning about the COVID-19 vaccines and how well and for how long they protect us from the virus and its emerging variants. The CDCs decision to provide third doses to immunocompromised people was made after data showed these groups were particularly vulnerable to infections since they had little protection from their earlier immunizations. We will keep learning about these vaccines in the coming months and years, which means we will adjust our vaccine plan accordingly.
Also Check: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results
Scheduling Your Second Shot
- Planning for your second shot is important.
- If you need help scheduling your vaccination appointment for your second shot, contact the location that set up your first appointment.
- If you are having trouble or have questions about using a vaccination management or scheduling system, reach out to the organization that enrolled you in the system. This may be your state or local health department, employer, or vaccination provider.
- Scheduling an appointment for your second shot at the time you get your first shot is recommended, but not required.
- If you need to get your second shot in a location that is different from where you received your first shot , there are several ways you can find a vaccine provider for your second dose.
How Effective Is The First Covid
When a vaccine requires two shots, the first shot helps your body recognize the virus and gets your immune system ready, while the second shot strengthens that immune response. This makes your body more prepared to fight infection. Learn more about how vaccines work here.
In the studies for Pfizers vaccine, the first shot seemed to be about 52% effective in preventing COVID. The second shot increased that effectiveness to 95%. Since people got two shots in the studies, we dont know how effective a single shot would be in the long run or how long it would last.
After getting the first shot, it can take up to a few weeks for your body to develop the cells that will make you immune. This means that its possible for you to get sick during that time. So its important to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing even after getting the vaccine.
Don’t Miss: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results
Who Had Already Been Eligible To Get A Pfizer Or Moderna Booster Shot
Some immunocompromised people are already eligible under guidelines from the CDC and can go out now to get their third dose. The CDC’s booster recommendation is for those 12 and older for the Pfizer vaccine. For the Moderna vaccine, the CDC is recommending 18 and older. The FDA hasn’t authorized a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for immunocompromised people because of a lack of data.
The CDC recommends that you talk with your health care provider about your medical condition and whether an additional dose is appropriate. See our guide to the booster vaccine for more on a booster shot for moderately to severely immunocompromised people.
With Millions Skipping Their Second Vaccine Dose Here’s Why You Should Keep That Appointment
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two separate doses to be fully effective, which is why it’s worrisome that almost 8 percent of people who got their first shot are not going back for their second, according to new CDC research. That comes out to around five million people and represents an uptick from earlier in the rollout, when about 3.4 percent of people missed their second shot.
According to The New York Times, people are missing their second doses for a variety of reasons. Some people have decided to try their luck with just one dose. There were also issues of availability, as some pharmacies no longer had second doses of the correct vaccine when patients were due for one.
So how necessary is that second shot? It’s pretty crucial POPSUGAR talked to Carlos Malvestutto, MD, MPH, an infectious disease doctor at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, to find out why you should get the second dose if at all possible.
Recommended Reading: Hank Aaron Dies From Vaccine
What If I Dont Get Either Of The Vaccine Shots
If you dont get either of the vaccine shots, you are more likely to get COVID-19, especially as cases continue to rise. You could also spread the disease to your family, friends, and people around you.
We know that COVID-19 can cause serious illness and even death in people, especially those with certain medical conditions. And even if you recover from COVID-19, you may have some of the long-term side effects, which can be severe.
Getting the vaccine can help protect you and others from getting COVID-19, from getting sick, and possibly dying from the virus.
Does My Booster Vaccine Or Third Dose Need To Be The Same Brand As My Initial Vaccine
If possible, yes. The CDC recommends that booster doses match the original mRNA vaccines people received earlier this year. This subsequent dose should be given at least 28 days after the second dose of the vaccine. If you absolutely cannot find a matching dose of vaccine, it would be OK to get the other one.
Read Also: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results
When Can I Get The Pfizer Booster Shot
As soon as today. According to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients, up to 20 million people received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago and are eligible for the Pfizer booster shot now.
State and local health officials have already started to roll out campaigns to help the public better understands who qualifies immediately, according to the New York Times.
If Ive Been Vaccinated With Moderna Or Johnson& johnson
At the moment, no. The FDA and CDC have only reviewed the safety and efficacy of boosters using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Moderna has submitted its data to the FDA to review, and the agency is expected to make a recommendation in coming weeks. Johnson& Johnson-Janssen, which makes the only authorized single-shot COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S., has not yet provided the FDA with data on its booster, although the companies have reported early data showing that a second shot can increase antibody levels by nine-fold in people ages 18 to 55 years compared to after the initial single dose.
Also Check: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results
Is One Vaccine Dose Enough If Youve Had Covid What The Science Says
A worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Governments are advising that only one dose of vaccine be given to those with a history of coronavirus infection.Credit: Chaiwat Subprasom/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty
Many people whove been infected with the coronavirus might be able to safely skip the second jab of any two-dose vaccine regimen, a growing number of studies suggest. These results could help to stretch scarce vaccine supplies and are already influencing vaccination policies in some countries. But questions remain about whether the findings hold for all individuals and all vaccines and therefore how policymakers should respond to the findings.
Studies show that people with previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 tend to mount powerful immune responses to single shots, and gain little added benefit from another injection,,. Whats more, for people with immunity gained through infection, one dose typically boosts antibody numbers to levels that are equal to, or often greater than, those found in individuals who have not been infected and have received double doses.
France, Germany and Italy, among other countries, now advise only one dose of vaccine for people with a healthy immune system and a confirmed previous diagnosis. Many scientists who have studied immune responses to vaccination say such policies are a sensible way to make the most of limited supplies in countries that are racing to inoculate their populations.
About Author: Lisa Coon
Lisa Coon is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since August 2016. A Peoria native, she is a graduate of Bradley University with a degree in journalism. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Iowa and Illinois.She lives in Groveland with her husband and son. In her free time she likes to cook, bake and read. She freely admits that reality TV is a weakness, and she lives by the quote, The beach is good for the soul.
Don’t Miss: Can You Take Advil After The Covid Vaccine
Booster Shots And Third Doses For Covid
Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention, and Gabor Kelen, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, explain what you need to know about third vaccine doses and COVID boosters. While both kinds of shots are additional doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines , they have different purposes and are intended for different groups of people.
Can I Do Anything Ahead Of Time To Reduce Any Side Effects From The Vaccine
You should wait until after being vaccinated to see how you feel. If you do experience side effects, it is OK to take an over-the-counter drug to lower a fever, reduce chills, or relieve a headache or body aches. Its important that you do not take these drugs before getting your vaccine as there are theoretical concerns that some pain relieving drugs may interfere with the immune response to the vaccine. It is also unclear if taking medication ahead of time actually works to reduce post-vaccine symptoms.
Read Also: Cvs Covid Testing Results Time Frame
Is The Second Dose Necessary
Because both vaccines appear to have high effectiveness 14 days or more after the first dose, you may be wondering whether the second dose of the vaccine is actually necessary.
Its true that there have been discussions amongst public health officials and scientists about the possibility of delaying or eliminating the second dose of these vaccines.
The thought process behind this is that either delaying or eliminating the second dose would enable a greater number of people to get some level of protection. It would also aid in stretching vaccine supplies to more people.
However, there are some concerns about doing this. Its possible that overall immunity or vaccine effectiveness could be impacted. Additionally, lower levels of immunity could drive the emergence of more virus variants that can escape our current vaccines.
Additional research into delaying or eliminating second doses is needed. Currently, the FDA
Side effects that are felt throughout your body, such as fever, fatigue, and headache, are more common after getting the second dose of the vaccine. This is true for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
Remember that the first dose of the vaccine generates a weaker response than the second dose. Because of this, youre more likely to feel side effects after the second dose.