If you are 50 plus, it’s likely you are eligible for a second COVID vaccine booster. Here’s what else to know, according to the CDC, FDA researchers and a top infectious disease specialist.
Who can get a second booster?
The CDC says adults 50 plus who got their first booster at least four months ago can now get a second one. So can anyone age 12 plus who is moderately or severely immunocompromised and got their first booster at least four months ago.
The CDC says adults 50 plus who got their first booster at least four months ago can now get a second one.
Those who got two doses of the J&J vaccine at least four months ago are also eligible for either Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
How much protection does the second booster offer?
The data is limited on exactly how much protection the extra booster provides. “Data from Israel suggest and support that four months after your first booster, if you’re older than 60, offers some slight benefit,” says Aaron Glatt, MD, chief of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau, Oceanside, NY.
In that study, researchers evaluated data on some 1.2 million people 60 or older when the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant was circulating, from January through early March, 2022. Rates of confirmed infection and severe COVID-19 were lower after a fourth dose than after three. Protection against infection was short-lived, but protection against severe illness did not wane during the study period.
Is it OK to Wait on the Second Booster?
Is it essential to get it right now? Glatt says people need to consider their risk factors, including age, when deciding on the best timeline. The older someone is, and the more underlying conditions, the more important it is to get it sooner rather than later, he says.
Some experts speculate that getting a booster may be more important in the fall of 2022 than in the spring of 2022.
According to the CDC, anyone who has been infected with COVID-19 within the past three months may want to wait for the booster. Glatt agrees. He’s not sure a booster will benefit these people, as the infection may serve as a natural booster.
Anyone who feels that getting a booster now would make them reluctant to get one in the future may also wish to wait, the CDC says. Some experts speculate that getting a booster may be more important in the fall of 2022 than in the spring of 2022. Another possibility is that a new vaccine that targets specific variants may be in the offing later.
Which second booster should you get?
Glatt says, “Second boosters can be Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech (but not J&J).”
What about side effects?
You may have side effects similar to what you experienced after the first doses, such as tiredness, chills, fever and body aches. It does not mean you are sick. Or, you may not experience any side effects this time around.
Kathleen Doheny is a Los Angeles-based independent journalist, specializing in health, behavior, fitness and lifestyle stories. Besides writing for Senior Planet, she reports for WebMD, Medscape, Endocrine Web, Practical Pain Management, Spine Universe and other sites. She is a mom, mother-in-law and proud and happy Mimi who likes to hike, jog and shop.
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