COVID Booster questions and recommendations

Hi all

A lot of people have messaged me recently asking about the booster shot so I thought I would provide a quick blurb for those that are maybe questioning this.

There is some evidence that there can be waining immunity after two doses at some point. As such, a third shot is being given to many people around the world.

The facts are:

  1. Although immunity may be reduced , we are not seeing any increase in serious infections after two shots. It’s many mild symptomatic infections that people get.

  2. There seems to be a protective effect if you had a long period of time between your first and second dose. If you followed the standard 21 day or so regime than your immunity may wain a bit faster

  3. The timing of the second dose usually has to exceed about 10 to 12 months before you start to see this effect in people with a normal immune system. As such, if you received your second dose over the summer you don’t have to worry about this right now

  4. Certain people are at especially higher risk of this. Those include people who have an immuno deficiency or weak immune system, or history of certain cancers or bone marrow transplants. Also, the very elderly and those in nursing homes seem to be at higher risk as well.

If you fit into one of those high-risk groups it’s probably a good idea to speak to your physician about whether you would be eligible for a third shot especially if you had your second shot a while ago. The other group are healthcare workers as they likely had their shots about 12 months ago and with constant exposure to Covid there may be benefit in terms of providing a third dose.

The most recent evidence on this was recently published in the New England Journal out of Israel and showed that a third dose which they are giving to almost everyone over 65 dramatically reduced the total number of infections although not serious ones as I mentioned earlier. The major side effect of another dose is the risk of myocarditis or heart inflammation, which is more common in the younger people. However we haven’t seen high prevalence of this. In all likelihood it’s safe but the full data isn’t available yet.

The bottom line is for most people you don’t need to be worried about a booster shot right now. If you have a weakened immune system or you happen to have both shots a long time ago and are at higher risk of Covid exposure you may want to speak to your physician.

For the rest of the people, likely until next summer you will be OK and at that point there should be more data emerging on the utility of booster shot anyway. It may end up that everyone needs one, but that time is not now.

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