Dear Kim,
There’s a lot of talk about COVID-19 booster shots. I already got two shots back in May – why will I have to get another? I thought I was all set on immunity!
Thanks,
Got the Shot

Dear Got the Shot,
A lot of people are confused about getting a booster shot, so you’re definitely not alone. If you already got a vaccine, don’t worry – the immunity it gave you still provides some protection against COVID-19! However, after a while, the immunity you have from many vaccines can go down significantly. This applies to a lot of shots. The tetanus shot is like this, and that’s why you have to get a tetanus booster every now and then. 

Think of it as practice for the immune system. When you learn a skill – say, piano – but you don’t practice for a long time, you may need to do a little bit of relearning. The body is like that. If it hasn’t practiced identifying and destroying a particular infection in a long time, it’s a little slow to remember, which can result in you getting symptoms while it remembers how to get rid of an infection. If you get a booster, your immune system’s memory is jogged, and it will fight off infection much quicker.

Right now, people who received the Pfizer or Moderna shot and have conditions that compromise their immune systems are eligible to go to a pharmacy or vaccine clinic and get a booster shot. As of September 20, everyone who got Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines will be eligible to get a booster at least 8 months after their initial vaccine. You mentioned you were vaccinated in April, which means you’ll be due for a booster in December.

Stay safe,
Kim