The Rundown on Boosters

By Kendyl Brower 

As the pandemic continues, so does the continuous stream of confusing information: do I need a booster? Does the vaccine not work already? As citizens navigate the vast, often misconstrued online information, I have compiled some frequently asked questions and myths about the recently FDA approved Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot. 

What is a booster? A third dose? 

A booster, Yale Medicine specialist Dr. Shaw points out, is another dose of a vaccine to “prolong protective immunity”. However, this is not a third dose, which is used for certain individuals who did not have a strong response to the first two doses. 

 Why do we need a booster vaccine? 

Immunocompromised and older people need boosters to protect themselves against severe disease and hospitalization since the vaccine’s protection wanes over time most prominently in these groups. However, aside from these people, the majority of healthy young citizens do not need to rush to get another shot. Vaccines are productive in preventing illnesses and death, little evidence shows that a booster will change one’s risk of dying or ending up in the hospital for healthy citizens. 

Who can get the booster vaccine?

Older and high-risk Americans are recommended to get the booster shot if they have received the Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months prior. As well, health care workers, first responders, teachers, food workers, transit workers, and those who work in shelters or prisons are eligible, but not as strongly encouraged to receive the shot as older and high-risk Americans. This is because boosters divert doses away from those who really need them, this is why WHO postponed the discussion until the end of September. 

What if I got J.&J. or Moderna? 

 So far, only Pfizer has federal authorization for the booster. However, the FDA is currently reviewing Moderna’s application for boosters. 

Why are some people against boosters? 

Many citizens globally argue that prior to boosting certain groups, every individual should be vaccinated. Areas in need of resources and first doses of the vaccine should be prioritized to truly end the pandemic.