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By Dr. Jerome Adams
The FDA lately permitted a second booster dose of each the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Fashionable COVID-19 vaccine for these aged 50 years or older. A second booster, very like the primary, can enhance safety in opposition to an infection, notably in teams which might be excessive danger for extreme issues.
Latest research on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines present that the safety vaccines and boosters present in opposition to the virus wanes over time and ultimately disappears. In different phrases, immunity doesn’t final endlessly, and isn’t as sturdy on Day 90 as on Day 10. As time passes, you once more develop into vulnerable to an infection. This isn’t in contrast to the annual flu vaccine, the distinction being that whereas flu is most virulent in winter season, COVID-19 appears destined for prevalence in all seasons.
If You’re a Senior, When Ought to You Take into account a Second Booster?
Whereas the FDA has permitted a second booster shot for seniors, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) has issued solely a permissive advice. Which means whilst you now have entry to a second booster, the CDC has no official assertion on the urgency of getting one.
On the identical time, the SARS-CoV-2 BA.2 Omicron subvariant is now dominant, and accounts for greater than half of COVID-19 instances in the US. The variant is reportedly as much as 50-percent extra contagious than earlier variants, which implies that it’s simpler to catch, particularly you probably have waning or no immunity. The excellent news is that whereas BA.2 is extra contagious than earlier COVID-19 variants, it’s no more harmful. Moreover, analysis reveals that vaccines are efficient in defending people in opposition to extreme issues from an infection with BA.2. Which means for these prone to critical sickness, like people 65+, being totally vaccinated and boosted remains to be the very best safety in opposition to COVID-19.
CDC pointers advocate a second booster no sooner than 4 months after a primary booster shot. So, if you happen to obtained your first booster in December 2021, it’s time to begin contemplating your second booster shot. Nevertheless it’s additionally essential to do not forget that these broad suggestions usually are not meant to be one-size-fits-all; consideration also needs to be given to non-public well being and danger elements, together with private stage of immunity.
A Fast Spit Can Inform You if You Have Immunity or Not
Antibody testing is the one option to know whether or not a person has a detectable stage of immunity to guard them in opposition to COVID-19. The FDA has cleared a saliva antibody take a look at underneath emergency use authorization (EUA) in docs’ workplaces: the CovAb™ antibody take a look at supplies ends in simply quarter-hour with a fast oral swab. So, once you spit on a stick, antibody testing gives you the information you want to make an knowledgeable determination about when to spice up once more.
Dr. Jerome Adams is a former vice admiral within the U.S. Public Well being Service Commissioned Corps and served because the 20th Surgeon Normal of the US. He’s a distinguished professor and director of well being fairness initiatives at Purdue College. Comply with him on Twitter: @JeromeAdamsMD