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COVID Vaccine Booster: Everything You Need to Know
COVID Vaccine Booster: Everything You Need to Know
Do You Need a COVID-19 Booster Shot?
Most people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus are relatively well-protected from serious illness and death from COVID-19.
But even highly effective vaccines often become less so over time. Early research on vaccines that use mRNA to protect you from the coronavirus, like those from Pfizer and Moderna, suggest that they eventually lose some of their power against infection and serious illness, no matter the variant of the virus (like Alpha, Beta, or Delta). Getting another shot several months after the first round, called a “booster shot,” can help supercharge the vaccine’s effectiveness.
The CDC and FDA both recommend getting a COVID-19 booster shot if you’re eligible.
Booster's Pfizer and Moderna
Anyone who got the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months ago should get a new booster shot if they're 18 years old or older.
For those who got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, you’re eligible for a booster shot 5 months after your first two doses of the vaccine. The CDC recommends only the Pfizer booster shot for adolescents between 12 to 17 years old. They also should receive the booster shot 5 months after their initial vaccination series.
Recently, the CDC said there’s a preference for mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines over the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. This decision was based on information from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The information discussed vaccine safety, vaccine effectiveness, rare adverse side effects, and U.S. vaccine supply.
While it’s best to get a booster shot from either Pfizer or Moderna, any booster is better than none. If you can only get the Johnson & Johnson booster, you should take it.
Boosters for Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should get a booster if you’re 18 or older and got vaccinated 2 or more months ago.
Can You Mix and Match Booster Shots?
Yes. For example, if you got the Moderna vaccine and you prefer to get a Pfizer booster shot, that is perfectly OK, according to the CDC. You can decide if you want to stick with a booster that matches your initial vaccine, or if you want to get one of the other two. (The three vaccines available in the U.S. are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.)
Some research suggests mixing vaccines in this way gives as much and perhaps even more protection against COVID-19 infection.
COVID-19 Vaccines Overview
Things You Can Do to Help Pre/Post-Vaccination
- You may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If medically appropriate, antipyretic or analgesic medications (acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may be taken for the treatment of post-vaccination symptoms. If you experience a fever for more than 48 hours after vaccination, consider getting tested for COVID-19.
- Apply a clean, cool wet cloth. If you’d prefer not to medicate, applying a cool cloth or compress to the injection site can help alleviate arm pain and swelling. And dress lightly if possible. Constricting layers can worsen your discomfort.
- Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol. Alcohol won’t decrease your immune response, but it may lead to symptoms similar to those associated with the vaccine. So, as a word of caution, it’s best to avoid heavy drinking prior to and after vaccination.
- Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before and after vaccination. Dehydration can exacerbate any side effects that you may encounter.
- Avoid strenuous activity. It’s a good idea to use and exercise your vaccinated arm frequently. But overall, you may want to take it easy for one or two days following vaccination. Overdoing it can weaken your immune system – and right now, the goal is to strengthen it. Try to get vaccinated on the weekend so that you can rest the next day. Make sure you get rest the following day.
- You may take an antihistamine. If you’re prone to or have experienced redness, swelling, hives or itching following any vaccination, you may want to consider an antihistamine like Benadryl right after getting vaccinated. ( I recommend Zyrtec or Claritin due to the severe drowsiness Benadryl tends to cause). Just FYI taking an antihistamine prior is not recommended because it may mask an anaphylaxis reaction to the vaccine.
- Prime your immune system: Others say having the healthiest immune system possible before getting vaccinated is crucial, and that taking the right mix of vitamins and minerals can help strengthen it. Prompted by the COVID pandemic, a Boston-based company is marketing Vacci-Prep, a mix of vitamins C, A, and D3, along with zinc, selenium, amino acids, and probiotics.
“We recommend starting it 7 days before the vaccine and 7 days after,” says Martin Floreani, president and CEO of Dentovations, the company making the new drug combination, which is expected to be available online in mid-February. He acknowledges no research exists to verify it can increase the immune response to the COVID vaccines, but he says the list of vitamins and minerals was chosen based on other research suggesting the supplements helped immune response with other vaccinations.
- Don’t exercise strenuously before the jab: Until more is known, Kaplan advises avoiding vigorous exercise 2 hours before and after the vaccination. She also advises avoiding hot showers 2 hours before and after, as exercise and vigorous showers can trigger allergic reactions in some people.
The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain eggs, preservatives or latex. But if you’ve experienced an immediate allergic reaction to any vaccine – even if not severe – talk to your primary care provider before getting vaccinated against COVID-19. And consider having an epinephrine pen available in case of anaphylaxis.
Unless your provider recommends otherwise, it’s critical that you keep your appointment for the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – even if you experienced side effects following your first dose. Receiving the second dose is the only way the vaccine’s efficacy can be ensured – and the only way you can maximize your immunity to COVID-19.
By the time you receive the second dose, your body will already have some of the antibodies it needs and is able to respond more quickly. This could help explain why the second dose tends to be more intense for some people. But knowing what to expect and how to prepare can help keep you comfortable while giving you the peace of mind that you’re protecting not only yourself but also those around you.
TMSA COVID-19 Keep Each Other Safe: Know When to Stay Home
Fulton County Schools' COVID-19 Coronavirus Official Webpage
Fulton County Schools (FCS) works daily to ensure the health and well-being of our students and staff by developing, implementing, and delivering school health services throughout the year. Occasionally, extraordinary efforts are required to meet particular challenges, such as the recent concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19).
FCS is currently following the lead of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) as well as other local, state, and federal agencies to make sure we have the most up-to-date information available. This page has been established to provide these resources and communications from the district to our community members.
TMSA Classroom Safety Tips During a Pandemic