Should I get yet another COVID 19 booster vaccine? I’ve had 4 vaccine doses already!

Dr. Wy, why should I get yet another COVID 19 booster vaccine? I’ve had 4 vaccines doses already!

Many of my patients have asked me this important question over the past several months. It’s true that some vaccines give us long term protection after one or two doses. That’s not the case for all vaccines, though, including COVID 19 vaccines.

The reason for this is that some germs mutate over time, and the COVID 19 virus mutates frequently. We also see this in flu viruses, which is why we need to get a flu shot each fall.  COVID 19 is similar in this way, and this past fall an updated vaccine came out that also covered two new subvariants. Prior boosters didn’t have this combination.

Does it make a difference? Yes! According to Dr. Elizabeth Choi, an internal medicine and infectious diseases expert that is the American College of Physicians’ delegate to the American Medical Association, “We are definitely seeing that regardless of how the person has developed some level of immunity against COVID-19—whether it is infection versus vaccination—there is waning of that immunity. This reinforces why COVID-19 booster vaccinations are so important.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, people who received the updated COVID-19 bivalent booster were three times less likely to die compared with those who received only the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines. Even now, thousands of people are still dying of the infection and its complications each week.

No vaccination is perfect, but it’s still the best way to protect ourselves from this dangerous virus. So please get your boosters!

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