By Josephine Reid
As we approach year three of the pandemic, we are reminded of and have seemingly re-created the stats that have haunted our communities far too long. The presence of variants and how they have torn down the foundation we thought was being built for “back to normal” has become apparent. It appears that the United States has taken several steps backward in the fight against the beast, COVID-19.
Many may ask, how do we continue to fight? Is there a solution to the limited life span of the vaccine?
The answer, especially for our most vulnerable communities, is the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. Nearly a million booster shots have already been administered in the United States. They were approved for people with weak immune systems from cancer, HIV, organ transplants and more. The booster is also approved for healthcare providers, residents of long-term care facilities, and other older adults, according to the CDC.
Six months after the second dose of the initial vaccines is the booster timeline the White House has confirmed for people who received the Pfizer or Moderna shots.
This solution lies in the fact that the booster shot is the same dose as the initial two-shot regimen. The extra dose mobilizes the body’s immune system defenses to further protect against COVID-19, especially variants such as Delta. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said that early testing indicates a booster shot given at least six months after the second vaccine dose produces antibody levels 5 to 10 times higher than after the first two doses.
The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) along with other studies suggest that the first COVID-19 vaccines aren’t as effective against the Delta variant as they are against the Alpha variant and the original version of the virus that started the pandemic, and hence the need for the booster.
The protection offered by the vaccines also depends on what other COVID-19 precautions you are taking. Staying vigilant in order to protect our communities is crucial. The most vulnerable who have not yet received their booster shot need your help. A fighting chance is possible if we do this as a united front. We Can Do This!
For more information about vaccination sites in your area, please go to https://www.vaccines.gov.