COVID Boosters

Li Yen Ho

The COVID-19 booster shot has been available for months now, since November 19, 2021; for most, it is the third COVID vaccine they have taken. Anyone 12 years or older (who is also fully vaccinated) is advised to take the booster, and especially with Omicron making its rounds, it is all the more important to stay safe.

Specifically, the vaccine is available to anyone who has received two doses of Pfizer, two doses of Moderna, or one dose of Janssen five months after their last vaccination. For adults, either the Moderna or Pfizer booster shot is recommended by the CDC, but minors ages 12 to 17 are delegated only to Pfizer.

Symptoms of the booster shot are generally essentially the same as the previous doses: pain and swelling in the arm, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, nausea. These symptoms are generally in the same intensity range as the second dose of the initial vaccination.

Because mRNA vaccines have been seen to lose effectiveness against illness over time, a booster shot helps renew that effectiveness by restimulating the antibodies. Currently the booster has a 90% effectiveness rate at keeping people out of hospitals due to Omicron.

Most students have already taken two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine prior to the booster shot. These students, and anyone else who has taken their second dose (of Pfizer or Moderna; first dose of Jansen) at least two weeks ago, are still considered to be fully vaccinated, regardless of whether they choose to take the booster. However, without taking the booster, one can be “fully vaccinated” without being “up to date” with their vaccines (also known as “boosted”) making for some confusion on that matter.

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