A COVID-19 booster shot is an extra dosage of a antibody given after the assurance given by the initial shot(s) has begun to diminish over time. Ordinarily, you’d get a booster after the immunity from the starting dosage(s) actually starts to melt away. The booster is planned to assist individuals keep up their level of immunity for longer.
Why are booster doses recommended?
Although the COVID-19 vaccines remain effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, the CDC has found that their protection against mild to moderate disease decreases over time. Studies have shown that a booster shot not only lengthens immunity but helps to broaden and strengthen your immune response, even against variants such as omicron.
First round of COVID-19 vaccination –
When we say ‘first round of COVID-19 vaccination’ we mean your dose 1 and dose 2 from different approved pharmacy vaccine such as Pfizer, Covaxin, Covishield etc.
If you have a weak immune system, you should have been offered an ‘additional dose’ to give you better protection. This is because your immune system may not respond as well to vaccination. You will still need a booster dose after this additional dose.
Who is eligible for a booster shot?
The eligibility criteria for a COVID-19 booster are admittedly confusing.
The simplest place to start, though, is to consider:
• Your age
• Which vaccine you initially received
• How far out you are from your initial dose or doses
How long to wait before getting a booster?
You need to wait 3 months (at least 90 days) after your first round of COVID-19 vaccination before you can get a booster.
If you had COVID-19 since you were vaccinated, you should get your booster dose at least 3 months after your positive test result.
After your COVID-19 booster dose –
Unlike after your first or second dose, you will not need to wait 15 minutes after your COVID-19 booster dose.
But you will still be asked to sit and wait after your vaccine for 30 minutes if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
Get medical care immediately if you:
• have difficulty breathing
• feel dizzy
• have a fast heartbeat or a skin rash
These could be a sign of an allergic reaction. But severe allergic reactions are rare.
Side Effects –
After getting vaccinated for COVID-19 booster, you might experience some temporary symptoms similar to those you might notice when you get a flu shot, such as a sore, swollen arm where you got the shot. You might run a fever and experience body aches, headaches and tiredness for a day or two. Chills, swollen lymph nodes can also occur.
These symptoms do not mean you are sick. They signal that your immune system is responding to the shots and building up protection against the coronavirus.
Booster immunity –
It takes 7 days for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to work. After this time, the booster is very effective at preventing serious illness.
We do not know yet how long booster immunity will last. Clinical studies are ongoing to find this out.
How do you know if you actually need a booster?
“If you’re eligible for a booster but aren’t convinced you need another dose, consult your doctor. He or she can help you make a decision based on your individual benefits and risks of getting an additional dose.
One such way your doctor may choose to help make this decision is to check your antibody levels, also called antibody titers. There are many components to immunity, and antibodies are an important one — especially in the early stages of infection.
COVID-19 vaccination elicits robust antibody production in most people, but the levels of these antibodies wane over time. “If you’re unsure whether you need a booster, your antibody titers can be one piece of information your doctor uses while counseling you on your decision. If your titers are very low, a booster shot may be recommended. However, we do not recommend routine use of titer measurements.”
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