Should I Get a COVID Booster Shot?
November 30, 2021
As the Delta variant and new Omicron variant continue to spread, debates, conversations, and questions about a COVID booster shot heat up. COVID-19 guidance changes with new developments as learning are associated with COVID-19 and vaccination continues. This can leave people confused, skeptical, and even fearful. Vaccine booster shots are anything but new, and from the get-go, scientists alluded to the fact that boosters would probably be necessary for the near future.
It’s a challenge predicting the length of the immunologic protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, as we learn about the disease in real-time. This makes getting vaccinated crucial. But should you get a COVID booster shot?
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Who Needs a Booster Shot
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following categories of people can receive the booster shot:
- Those who have received a primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series and are 65 years and older, 50–64 years experiencing underlying medical conditions, or those 18+ living in long-term care settings
- Those who received a primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series and are 18-49 years old experiencing underlying medical conditions, or 18+ working or living in high-risk settings
- Those who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and are age 18+
- If you got the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine and are: age 65 or older; age 18 and older who live in long-term care settings, 18 years older with underlying medical conditions; 18 years older working or living in high-risk settings
Side Effects of a Booster
Some people may develop side effects after taking a booster shot. Side effects may depend on the particular vaccine administered. Data suggests that common side effects include:
- Pfizer booster shot may cause mild to moderate side effects such as pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle, and joint pain, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
- Moderna booster shot may cause injection site pain, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, headache, chills, nausea, and vomiting.
- Johnson & Johnson booster shot may cause injection site pain, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, and nausea.
Booster Shot Benefits
In simple terms, a booster shot is an added dose of a vaccine you receive intended for prolonged protective immunity. Usually, the need for a booster shot tends to emerge with evidence of waning protection after a while. Think of it as an extra dose for extended protective immunity that addresses the concern regarding the decrease of the vaccine’s effectiveness over time.
The COVID-19 virus could evolve further and create a worse variant. A booster is beneficial because it can be tweaked or tailored to target particular variants of the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2.
You should get an authorized booster shot at least six months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series. COVID-19 virus-fighting antibodies can wane after some time after getting a particular vaccine, making a booster shot necessary. Take questions that you may have regarding a booster shot to your doctor or your local health officials.