COVID-19 booster shots


Taylor Schmitz

Sanford Health is currently offering COVID-19 booster shots for people ages 65 and over, those with underlying health conditions and people with jobs that put them at a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Taylor Schmitz, Entertainment Editor

As the ever-evolving nightmare pandemic continues, so do our ways to combat the virus. First, it was social distancing and masks and after what seemed like an eternity, vaccines were finally introduced. Although they were groundbreaking in many ways, as the virus has continued to mutate, they have become less effective. However, vaccines still remain the number one way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as limit the chance of someone needing critical care in the event that they become sick, especially now with the introduction of booster shots.

The goal of a booster shot is to allow the body’s immune system to react more aggressively to a COVID-19 infection due to the priming effect of receiving the first two shots. This is the same increased immunity concept seen and studied in other FDA-approved vaccines such as the tetanus and whooping cough boosters.

Booster shot vaccines were made available at the beginning of September to individuals who received their second dose of the vaccine at least eight months ago. Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech booster is accessible but can be administered to those who received either of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna). This is because scientists have the most data for those mRNA vaccines regarding the diminishing of immunity of antibody levels. Health officials predict that in the next few weeks, information will be released concerning booster eligibility for those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The CDC has only recommended the booster to people over the age of 65, residents in long-term care settings and people ages 50 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions as of Sept. 24, 2021. However, they also said that people ages 18 to 49 years with underlying medical conditions and people ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure due to an occupational or institutional setting, such as teachers or doctors, are also eligible for the shot.

As many states head into their fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, it is comforting to know that the most vulnerable are able to increase their protection against this dangerous virus. Hopefully in the months to come, others will follow their lead of receiving a booster shot and do what they can to stop the spread of COVID-19.