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Why you shouldn't rush to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot before it's your turn

ClaireH

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Health experts warn not to jump the gun -- or line -- in taking a third dose.

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What you need to know about COVID-19 boosters
Dr. Jen Ashton talks about the controversy surrounding a third vaccine dose.
In the next month, millions of Americans will get ready to roll up their sleeves for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But when it comes to booster shots, it's not as simple as 'more is more' -- it's also a matter of when.

For severely immunocompromised people, a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is available now. Come mid-September, that option is expected to be open for everyone who got Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, at least eight months after their second dose.

Health experts caution not to jump the gun -- or the line -- on when you might actually need a booster shot.

With patience, a better immune response

"We have to look at both sides of the equation -- the benefits to be reaped and the safety of giving an additional dose," Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told ABC News. "You'll get a more robust immune response if you wait a little longer before you get your booster."

The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be safe and effective against severe disease and hospitalization. And when immunity wanes, it does so gradually, experts say, with current data suggesting all three of the authorized vaccines provide good protection at least six months after initial vaccination and likely longer.



PHOTO: A nurse marks a coronavirus vaccination card with a third booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccine clinic in Pasadena, Calif., Aug. 19, 2021.

Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images
Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images
A nurse marks a coronavirus vaccination card with a third "booster" dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccine clinic in Pasadena, Calif., Aug. 19, 2021.
The Biden administration announced availability of booster shots would begin ahead of any ruling from the Food and Drug Administration or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory groups.

Wary of delta's exponential spread, federal health officials are attempting to preempt the possibility of a greater surge should vaccine efficacy dwindle.

MORE: Pandemic, labor shortages have left long-term care facilities competing for staff
You're likely still protected, for now

"We are concerned that this pattern of decline we are seeing will continue in the months ahead," Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said at a briefing Wednesday.

"You don't want to find yourself behind playing catch up," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House.

It's a careful narrative aimed at keeping confidence that vaccines still work -- while preparing the public for another round of shots if protection against hospitalization and deaths ebbs.

Even in announcing the step toward boosters, the nation's top health officials emphasized most fully vaccinated Americans "still have a high degree of protection from the worst outcomes of COVID-19."



PHOTO: People wait in the observation area at a COVID-19 booster shot vaccination site organized for immunocompromised individuals, in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Aug. 18, 2021.

Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images via Shutterstock
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images via Shutterstock
People wait in the observation area at a COVID-19 booster shot vaccination site organized for immunocompromised individuals, in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Aug. 18, 2021.
"We are not recommending that you go out and get a booster today," Murthy said.

"We don't have data that suggests you benefit from having the additional dose of the vaccine before your immunity drops off," said Jay Bhatt, an internist, geriatrician and ABC News contributor, adding anxious Americans shouldn't feel tempted to get a booster earlier than eight months.

MORE: How to stop student COVID spread as school year kicks into gear
Those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also likely need an additional dose, health experts predict. Since its authorization came later, data is still developing on an additional dose.

Getting a booster shot too soon may be counterproductive. Those who wait extend their "runway" of immune protection further.

"Because of all these breakthrough milder infections, and the diminution in antibody levels, those things combined to make the task force antsy and wanting to not wait," Schaffner said.

Let the most vulnerable go first

Additional third doses should be prioritized first for the most vulnerable and those who were first given vaccines in December and January, experts say. Those people include nursing home and long-term care facility residents and staff, elderly Americans and front-line health care workers, for whom even a mild case of COVID could risk an entire hospital ward.

"There's real concern among nursing home residents and their loved ones about getting sick again," Bhatt said.

The same day federal officials previewed coming boosters, the CDC released several studies showing that although the vaccines are highly effective against severe disease, protection against infection may peter out over time.



PHOTO: Nurse Mary Ezzat prepares to administer a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot for an immunocompromised healthcare worker, Aug. 19, 2021, at UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif.

Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP
Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP
Nurse Mary Ezzat prepares to administer a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot for an immunocompromised healthcare worker, Aug. 19, 2021, at UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif.
Health officials don't want to wait until the nation gets stuck behind the pandemic eight ball again, but some experts worry the move was premature.

Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital, is skeptical of boosters for the broader population so soon.

"The risks are unknown, and the benefits are unknown. I can't, as a responsible physician, give someone advice, when I haven't been able to weigh those two things," Faust said, cautioning against taking a "shot in the dark."

Waiting for the data

Pfizer and Moderna have gauged side effects from a third shot tantamount to the primary course -- fever, sore arm and fatigue -- while the rare risk of more serious side effects, like myocarditis, remains.

Faust points out the clinical trial data and real-world success of the vaccines have been an undeniable "slam dunk" thus far, but third doses are uncharted territory.

"The science on this is unavailable. And that's not a place where we've been before," Faust said, noting the risk of myocarditis has shown to happen more frequently after the second mRNA dose.

"What's the third dose going to do?" Faust said. "Is a third dose going to hospitalize more people for myocarditis than we're actually getting in return for the third dose of vaccine coverage? We literally don't know."

MORE: As US battles delta variant, tens of thousands of vaccine doses are set to expire
Boosters are meant to fortify the vaccine's still-robust strength over time, but it's a unique time frame for each individual's optimized immunity.

"It's a little bit of a Goldilocks moment. Where do you want to put down your bets?" NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a recent interview on MSNBC. "We think because lives are at stake if we are going a little early, I'd rather be in that space than be a little late."

"The COVID virus precipitates decision-making, when one has less than an ideal amount of data," Schaffner said. "You always want more."

ABC News' Eric M. Strauss and Sony Salzman contributed to this report.

Jess Dawson, M.D., a masters of public health candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.
BySasha Pezenik andDr. Jess DawsonWhy you shouldn't rush to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot before it's your turn
They had a lot of trouble figuring out the timing between the first two jabs that were recommended by Pfizer and Moderna. Spacing them out too close resulted in numerous, negative outcomes so they recommended spacing that second jab out farther down the line. Then they realized that the vaccines didn’t even work for more than 6 months out with reduced antibodies detected “proving a false need” for more of the worthless same.

Kind of like buying a bag of rotten apples that appeared fine on the outside. When the rotten parts continue to outweigh the edible parts, however, who in their right mind would go out and buy another bag of rotten apples? Not the smart consumer.
 

Rogue AI

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ClaireH

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Only 55% of Americans are fully vaccinated...and less than three quarters of those are in favor of a booster. And that's before they find out the FDA OPPOSED booster shots for those under 65...only to be overruled by a Biden political appointee.

Links...



There is still debate on the +65 having the booster because of the aging affect and reduced B cell training factor more limited than compared to say a youthful person whose natural antibodies are stronger.

So, we’ll continue to hear how the elderly are most at risk, which is true due to comorbidities with obesity the top one, followed closely by diabetes, others, but recommending the “vaccine” as a “solution” for this at-risk age group does not contain findings showing a reduction of the immunity system to maintain memory B cells. If I were 85+ (without comorbitities) I would be furiously, reviewing recent studies about that age group having reduced memory potential from a jab or 3 or 4….

They are currently peddling crap which will improve.
 

Concerned American

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No doubt some idiots going to try that; but Republicans were already balking at the fact that action cards exist at all. Putting an id photo on it would probably make it totally unacceptable to them. remember these are the same people who are putting such strong voter restrictions on people it's going to end up disenfranchising many voters. Total hypocrites.
Papers? Show me your papers or report to the de lousing chambers before going to the re-education camps. Fool.
 

Stann

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The left doesn't believe in photo IDs. In the future, we may be required to show vaccination papers in order to vote. The libs can't have photos on any papers required for voting...because it's possible to photograph all IDs presented and compare them later....prior to certifying the election.
Bulshit, the Republicans are blocking the whole idea of vaccinations papers not the Democrats
 

BlueGin

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I was bamboozled into getting a shot but you won't find me getting any booster. They have no idea about the 8 month time period either. They're shooting from the hip and I'm not going to be any part of it. The shot was supposed to let you lose the mask and travel wherever you wanted. That turned out to be bullshit. Fuck boosters.
Yeah. That vaccine for mask freedom lasted all of 30 days. If that. Right up there with 2 weeks to flatten the curve.
 

BlueGin

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It's been pretty hilarious to watch the left bitch and gripe about Big Pharma for untold decades and now they want Big Pharma to shoot us up every day. Reminds me of a Star Trek NG episode where an entire planet had a pandemic, took shots for it, and became an entire planet of drug addicts.
Yeah the same left loons that used to vilify big Pharma now post countless links to big Pharma propaganda. Everything from Moderna pushing that vax’d individuals are 11 times more likely to avoid death.. to Pfizer pushing the FDA to approve the Vax for kids.

Good little Big Pharma foot soldiers they have become.
 

BlueGin

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Only 55% of Americans are fully vaccinated...and less than three quarters of those are in favor of a booster. And that's before they find out the FDA OPPOSED booster shots for those under 65...only to be overruled by a Biden political appointee.

Links...



Well hell. The guy guaranteeing the FDA will approve vaccines for children is on the board of directors for Pfizer …who just so happens to be a ex commissioner for the FDA. No conflict of interest there or anything.
 

Concerned American

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Biden's administration is pushing a third booster shot without recommendations of the FDA or the CDC. It's all about the money, drug companies are salivating at their new product line and want to keep it going.
I've always thought the gov't had people that were smarter than I am, then Biden, Harris and the DNC came along in 2018 and all I've thought since was, "SILLY ME!"
 

ClaireH

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I've always thought the gov't had people that were smarter than I am, then Biden, Harris and the DNC came along in 2018 and all I've thought since was, "SILLY ME!"
I honestly thought the exact same thing Concerned American for years and years! I remember thinking how lucky I was to live in such a nation where honesty prevails and the good guys are the elected politicians lol I was completely blind and ignorant obviously!
 

Osiris-ODS

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