For the past two years, countries worldwide experienced the massive spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which halted the normal life of every person living in this era. Huge number of infections, deaths and severe symptoms brought by the virus resulted in a global health problem and hopelessness especially in poor countries with mediocre healthcare system. But the top pharmaceuticals and first-world countries boosted its efforts to provide a solution and prevent the massive spread of COVID-19. As lockdowns were imposed globally, medical solutions were developed by the top nations to provide a cure or virus immunity to the people. The move may be progressive as it may seem, many people were doubtful of emergency use of these vaccines as they fear that was rushed and studies are lacking to prove that it is safe for use to humans. But what the people miss out is the choice between being protected from the virus or dying from infection. Although as time progresses, vaccinations are being accepted by the population thanks to those who risked becoming the first patients to be vaccinated. In the Philippines, more than half of the population is fully vaccinated. Recently, booster shots are being rolled out worldwide in order to increase the protection of the world against the virus. With this, how can we know if we are eligible for the booster shot? Or why should you get a booster shot? These might be the questions of the majority with concern to the duration of immunity or antibodies against COVID-19. Here are the basic details with regards to why booster shot is important alongside previous doses of COVID-19 vaccination.
Duration of COVID-19 Vaccines
The guaranteed time of protection given by vaccines and booster shots are still unclear. However, Pfizer-BioNTech claimed that its phase 3 clinical trial of its vaccine showed strong immunization that lasts for at least 6 months. So, does this mean after 6 months, our body is not protected anymore? The answer is no. However, studies show that the efficacy of vaccines declines over time. Recently, it was studied that booster shots are needed as support for the previous doses of vaccines taken by the people.
Is a booster shot important for fully vaccinated individuals?
The answer is yes, and this is why booster shot is important like the first two doses of vaccines the global population had in the past months or year. This is the solution of the pharmaceutical companies to prolong the immunity of people against the virus. A booster shot is an additional dose of vaccine to prolong the immunity of the fully vaccinated individuals against the virus. According to the recent findings, the efficacy of vaccine declines, particularly against mild to moderate COVID-19, over time. So, it is need for fully vaccinated individuals to get their booster shots to continue its protections. Having a booster builds up your first line of defense against the virus because it replenishes the circulating antibodies in our bodies as the protection of the first rolled out doses is proven to decline over time.
Who is/are recommended to take these additional shots?
Usually, the vulnerable groups of the population are prioritized for vaccines and booster shots as an additional or prolonged protection against the virus due to their compromised immune system brought by their existing illness/es. If you are considered one, this is why you should get a booster shot.
Aside from whether your immunocompromised, age is a factor on getting booster shots for people with good physical health. Currently, the world is now rolling out two booster shots in which 18 years old and above individuals are eligible to take. However, it is still being studied if it is safe for kids to get a second booster shot. In fact, in the Philippines, it was only in June 2022 wherein the first booster shot for kids. Nevertheless, if you are immunocompromised or has comorbidities, it is recommended to take a booster shot. Immunocompromised individuals are those people who:
- Have obesity
- Are treated for cancer
- Have immunodeficiency, moderate to severe
- Have the following diseases
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic respiratory disease
- Kidney disease
- Liver disesase
- Neurologic and cerebrovascular disease
Would it guarantee protection? Or is it dangerous for our long-term health?
Vaccine and booster shots are not absolute immunity against COVID-19. The purpose of vaccines and booster shots is to produce and prolong the antibodies which will fight the severe impacts of virus to our body. With this, it primarily protects you from experiencing severe symptoms and side effects that compromise the function of your organs especially your lungs. It is proven that vaccines have no long-term serious effects to our health.
However, as per the authorization of US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most recommended vaccine brands are from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. These agencies released its recommendation as there are vaccine brands which increases the risk of serious side effects particularly blood clot and myocarditis.
Vaccine and Booster Shots are the Keys to Better Living Conditions
COVID-19 is the most contagious diseases the world experiences in this era. The main goal of vaccine is to protect its people from the serious effects in case you get infected by the virus. Yes, it is not an absolute protection like you will not be infected anymore but since this is a new disease its side effects are still unknown or not yet fully discovered. The best and immediate solution we have is to have vaccine that will provide or help the immune system of the people to produce the necessary antibodies which aids in fighting the severe impact of the COVID-19 in our bodies. Thanks to technology, developing of vaccine is quicker than the time when Spanish Flu happened. But people had mixed reactions as these are rolled out to the public. The society is doubtful with how quick it was developed. They are fearful that time is still needed to prove its efficacy and long-term effects in our health. However, this is the last hope for every individual. Either you die from being infected or die from the vaccine. If herd immunity is not achieved, the former scenario will likely happen even you lockup yourself so you would not be infected.
The best pharmaceuticals and the rapid development of technology continuously shows its extreme efforts to produce a cure or immunity to the people so it can continue and go back to the normal state of life. Remember, many people were affected by the virus. Not only their health was compromised, but their living conditions were severely affected. Some lost their jobs as businesses had retrenchment operations.
From the start of the pandemic, all of us hope for the rapid and quick response to combat the widespread of the virus to go back to our normal living conditions. We must learn from history that the only way to progress in a pandemic is the development of vaccine and prolonging its protection. So, if you are still asking why vaccines and booster shots should be taken. The answer is simple, for protection against severe effects and to shift back to a normal life. If you are still not convinced on why you should get a booster shot after your first two doses of vaccine, consider consulting your doctor and your risk of infection then evaluate why a booster shot is important for your overall health and daily life. Don’t you want to return to your past living conditions where you can move freely and do everything with little to no restrictions? Pandemic may have posed new opportunities like working from home which made you save a lot of money that you can use for a bank housing loan or to pay for a rent to own house and lot but travels and bonding time with the people far from you became impossible. With this, it is our responsibility to contribute in reaching the herd immunity the world wishes for and let us not waste the efforts and sacrifices of our medical professionals for the life of the COVID-19 survivors.