There is a lot of speculation floating around the net about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. In order to clear up doubts, we have invited two professionals- Lisa Maragakis, Senior Director of infection prevention and Gabor David Kelen, director of the John Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response to explain what booster jabs and third vaccine doses are the reasons for using them according to their purpose and recipients.
What is a COVID-19 vaccine booster?
A booster shot is an additional dose of vaccine for extra protection to compensate for the loss of effectiveness of the original shots over time. This ensures that your level of immunity is maintained at a safe level.
What is a third dose?
The third does is often confused with a booster shot but the reason for getting it is different. The third does of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, i.e. Pfizer or Moderna, is given to recipients with weakened immune systems. As authorized by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who did not have a strong enough reaction to the first two doses due to certain medical conditions that suppress their immune system, are entitled to the third does of the same brand of vaccine they have previously received.
Exactly who is eligible for the third dose?
These people include:
- Received active cancel treatment for tumours or blood cancers
- Received stem cell transplant in the past two years or organ transplant, and are taking medicine for immune system suppression
- Diagnosed with DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
- Diagnosed with HIV and have high viral load or low CD4 count, or are off HIV-treatment medicine
- Taking drugs like high-dose steroids or other medications that may cause severe suppression of the immune system
However, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said everyone will “likely” need a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated. (Lovelace, 2021)
When can I get the third dose?
The third dose is safe to take 28 days after the second dose.
Why is the third dose needed?
This ensures that people with underlying health conditions that result in a weaker immune system are protected from severe repercussions and death due to the virus. Research has indicated that these people may not benefit from just two doses of the vaccine.
How do I know if I need a third dose?
If you are uncertain about this, discuss it with a medical consultant who has access to your medical records.