116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Amid the deadly Delta variant surge, federal health officials announced this week it will be offering COVID-19 vaccination boosters to Americans starting next month.
The recommendation, which only applies to Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, comes as new studies show the vaccine’s ability to protect against less serious disease declines over time and to boost Americans’ ability to avoid severe illness and hospitalizations.
Here’s what we know so far about the third coronavirus booster shots:
Who is eligible for a third coronavirus vaccine dose and when?
The Biden administration and other federal health officials recommended all Americans aged 18 and older who have received a two-dose vaccine series from Pfizer and Moderna should get a third coronavirus shot eight months after their second dose.
U.S. officials say they are developing a plan to begin offering booster shots starting next month, after new studies showed a booster dose is needed to fight off waning immunity as a more highly contagious delta variant spreads rapidly across the country.
Booster shots are expected to be available by the week of Sept. 20.
What about individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
Booster shots likely also will be needed for individuals who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, federal officials say.
However, they will be reviewing data over the next few weeks before making a formal recommendation.
Why should I receive a third COVID-19 vaccine dose?
New data available from federal health officials this week shows that antibody titers — which measures the level of antibodies capable of fighting off the virus in the blood — from the coronavirus vaccines declined about eight months after an individual received the second dose.
The third shot is needed to boost immunity against the novel coronavirus, expert say. In some individuals, antibodies from the booster were five times higher than after receiving their second dose.
How do vaccine boosters work?
Almost every vaccine in use today has a booster, according to Dr. Pat Winokur, University of Iowa College of Medicine executive dean and principal investigator for the UI portion of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine trials.
Over time, antibodies decline as an individual’s immune system looses its memory of a virus it’s meant to fight. Giving it that third shot helps the immune system remember the virus.
Winokur compared the booster to practice for an orchestra — the musicians are better performers when they have had more practice.
“The booster reminds the immune system, and after you get that boost, what happens is you make even more antibodies than you did after the second dose,” Winokur said.
Where can I get a booster shot?
Federal health officials are finalizing plans to offer the third coronavirus vaccine dose.
However, a White House official said Wednesday during a news briefing the booster shots likely would be given at the same locations that distributed first and second vaccine doses. The official said the goal is to make administration of booster shots as simple as possible.
Comments: (319) 398-8469; email@example.com