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Health and Fitness News

Get a Boost

If you’re thinking of getting a COVID-19 booster shot, here’s what you need to know.

Millions of people around the world are now vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Studies now show that over time, immunity from the first round of shots may begin to lessen. Therefore, despite there being some controversy surrounding the recommendation, a COVID-19 booster shot is recommended to increase protection from the virus.

As you know, things are constantly changing with COVID-19 as new information and treatments are discovered. Here’s what’s currently known about the COVID-19 booster shot.

Who Is Eligible?

A booster vaccine is now available for certain populations considered high risk for severe infection. This includes those age 65 and older and those age 18 and over with underlying health conditions. While the list of those who are eligible is subject to change, it currently includes those 18 years and older who live in high-risk settings such as long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters. It’s also offered to those who work in the postal service, public transit, healthcare industry, manufacturing, schools, and as first responders.

Why Get a Booster?

According to research, vaccination doesn’t eliminate your risk of infection. It does, however, reduce your risk of severe infection, hospitalization, or death. The booster recommendation doesn’t mean the initial dose of the vaccine isn’t working. Researchers state it means the protection it offers may begin to lessen. This is particularly dangerous among those at high risk. Even if you don’t get the booster, you’re still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or after the single Johnson and Johnson shot.

Are There Side Effects?

Side effects after the booster do occur. They’re similar to those experienced from the first two doses, though possibly milder. Pain at the site of injection is the most common symptom. Fatigue, headache, chills, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever are also possible.

Don’t be alarmed by vaccine side effects. They don’t mean you have COVID-19. As with other vaccines, symptoms indicate your immune system is doing its job. Side effects should only last one to three days and then you’ll feel like your normal self. They seem to be reduced when you allow more time between the first shots and the booster. As of yet, no long-term side effects of these vaccines have been found. Serious side effects do happen, but are very rare.

Before and after getting vaccinated, experts recommend you drink plenty of water. You should also take it easy the day after your shot. Take the day off work if needed or get your shot on the weekend. To help relieve discomfort, take over-the-counter pain medication.

Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson

Each of the three major vaccine manufacturers have booster shots that have been released or are being made available. The Pfizer booster shot is currently being administered and is the same substance and same strength as the first two shots.

The Moderna booster shot is half the dose of the first two. Though a smaller dose, its side effects seem to be similar to those reported after the second shot.
Those who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine may soon be eligible for a booster. It’s recommended to wait at least two months after the first shot to get a booster.

After initial studies, the boosters reveal no new safety concerns. Could the booster be the last of the COVID-19 vaccines? Or will this turn into a yearly immunization like the flu? Only time will tell.