The “sixth wave” is here, causing some communities to ramp up booster shots.
But should you get one?
People who’ve received at least one booster typically fared far better against the recent omicron surge than those who were either unvaccinated or had only received the initial cycle of two vaccine doses.
Just how much better? Those who had boosters before the omicron wave were 300 percent less likely to get infected than those who were unvaccinated, and were 60 percent less likely than those who’d been vaccinated but had not had a booster.
You might be asking yourself when the need for boosters will stop. It can seem like a lot, and it may shake your trust in the motives, or even efficacy, of vaccine manufacturers and their products.
Try and remember that a couple of years ago, no one had even heard of COVID-19, so it’s going to take some time to come up with a solid and somewhat predictable treatment. It’s also important to remember that booster shots are not uncommon.
The annual flu shot, for example, is a booster. People routinely get booster shots for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis every ten years. The timing for the COVID booster is compressed because it is new, and at this stage, the vaccine is yet to offer a longer-term response. At this point, it is largely reactionary.
All vaccines lose effectiveness over time, so boosters are needed. If you’re over 12, getting a COVID booster is recommended. If you’re immunocompromised, over 65, or suffer from diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, you should get a fourth shot if available.
Doing so might not stop a COVID infection, but it will give your body a great shot at experiencing minor symptoms, staying out of the hospital, and avoiding long-haul symptoms.