Vaccine doses might not be enough to maintain the highest level of protection possible against COVID-19, especially due to the passing of time and the emergence of variants. The immunity provided by vaccines can become less effective against the virus, and this is why booster shots are important.
Protecting Individuals and the collective society.
Vaccine institutes have done and continue to do various research to keep both individual and collective health at the highest possible level. One of the proven methods is through additional doses and booster shots among others. These mechanisms help maintain protection against the virus and afford individuals the best opportunity to protect themselves against the virus.
It is advised that vaccinated individuals who have received their full vaccine doses get boosters to further strengthen their immunity against the COVID-19 virus.
What are COVID-19 boosters?
COVID-19 boosters are additional doses administered to individuals who have received complete doses of their respective vaccines. The protection offered by the original vaccine shots can wane due to passage of time and mutation of the virus, booster shots are used to keep protection at top-strength and up-to-date with the emergence of variants. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "booster doses are administered to a vaccinated population that has completed a primary vaccination series (currently one or two doses of EUL COVID-19 vaccine depending on the product) when, with time, the immunity and clinical protection has fallen below a rate deemed sufficient in that population."
Another research by experts at John Hopkins defines "A COVID booster shot is an additional dose of a vaccine given after the protection provided by the original shot(s) has begun to decrease over time." The booster is designed to complement the protection offered by vaccine doses.
Why do you need a booster?
COVID boosters further strengthen the protection gotten from vaccines. A booster shot helps you maintain a relatively usehigher level of protection than just the vaccine doses. It is important to take these extra measures to protect ourselves, loved ones and society at large. Research shows that "although COVID-19 vaccination remains effective in preventing severe disease, more and more data suggest vaccination is less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms over time."
Boosters are needed to allow populaces triumph over the COVID-19 virus and go a long way in preventing further spread of the coronavirus.
Who Can Get a Booster Shot?
Specifications of individuals who can get booster shots vary, ranging from the booster type and the time when the initial vaccine was administered. These are specified to prevent complications after administration of the booster and to achieve the most protection.
According to HSE, a booster can be administered to a 16-year old or above, and it is necessary to wait 3 months (at least 90 days) after the administration of the complete dose of COVID-19 vaccination before a booster is given.
However, according to the Centre for Diseases Control (CDC), it’s stated that for those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech, it can be administered to a 12-year old and above at least 5 months after collecting the primary COVID-19 vaccination. Meanwhile, for those who received Mordena, the specified age is 18 or older, and boosters are given at least 5 months after completing the primary COVID-19 vaccination. The Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen is also administered to 18-year olds and above, and at least 2 months after receiving the J&J/Janssen vaccine.
What are the side effects of booster shots?
A COVID-19 booster shot might elicit some side effects on the body.
Recently vaccinated individuals might experience some temporary symptoms like soreness and swelling on the arm the shot was received. You might also have a mild fever and experience body aches, headaches and tiredness for a day or two. Chills and swollen lymph nodes are also side effects.
However, it is often not much to worry about. These side effects are due to the immune symptom responding to the shot.
Where can I get a booster shot?
COVID boosters are largely available in certified health centers and institutions. In Nigeria, the Federal Government has confirmed the availability and administration of COVID-19 boosters, and has urged all \"eligible Nigerians are advised to visit the nearest health facility or mass vaccination site for their booster doses as from the 10th of December, 2021 across all states of the federation.\"
Does my COVID booster have to be the same brand with the vaccine?
Health institutions agree that \"most people may choose which COVIaD-19 vaccine they get as a booster dose\" as long as they keep to the age and time specifications that are required for these boosters.
John Hopkins explained that \"the FDA has authorized three vaccine boosters — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson — and determined that it is safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster or additional dose that is a different brand than your initial dose or doses.\"
Hence, individuals should not be bothered by the variance of the brands of their COVID boosters from their COVID vaccines, and should not allow such boundaries should discourage the administration of booster doses.
According to WHO, \"In the context of ongoing global vaccine supply constraints and inequities, broad-based administration of booster doses risks exacerbating vaccine access by driving up demand in countries with substantial vaccine coverage and diverting supply while priority populations in some countries, or in subnational settings, have not yet received a primary vaccination series.\"