Kim Iversen discusses the debate around whether COVID-19 vaccines weaken the immune system, and how booster shots might affect antibodies.
The CDC says the risk for covid increases steadily as you age, and it’s not just those over the age of 65 who are at increased risk for severe illness. A person is up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination if they have received all recommended doses in the primary series and one booster when eligible. Getting a second booster is not necessary to be considered up to date at this time. According to the CDC people who were unvaccinated and did not have prior COVID-19 infection remain at the highest risk of infection and hospitalization.
Those who were previously infected, both with or without prior vaccination, had the greatest protection. Additionally, a study by The Cleveland Clinic found that both previous infection and vaccination provide substantial protection against COVID-19. Vaccination of previously infected individuals does not provide additional protection against COVID-19 for several months, but after that provides significant protection at least against symptomatic COVID-19.
The CDC says Getting a booster enhances or restores protection against COVID-19, which may have decreased over time. People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive 4 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine—a primary series of 3 doses, plus, when eligible, 1 booster dose.
In March of 2022, the CDC expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose for certain individuals who may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster 4 months after their prior dose to increase their protection further. This is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time.
The CDC says layered prevention strategies — like staying up to date on vaccines and wearing masks — can help prevent severe illness and reduce the potential for strain on the healthcare system. Everyone ages 2 years and older should properly wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public in areas where the COVID-19 Community Level is high, regardless of vaccination status.
According to Pfizer and the CDC, potential side effects from the vaccine include pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Other side effects could include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, fever, chills, and nausea. In rare cases, people have experienced serious health events after the COVID-19 vaccination. Any health problem that happens after vaccination is considered an adverse event. According to the CDC: Although the overall risks are low, if you are pregnant or were recently pregnant, you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant. ”