Health officials talk potentially needing COVID boosters after 9 to 12 months

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 8:36 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Pfizer and Moderna officials said COVID-19 vaccine booster shots may be necessary every nine to 12 months, but local health leaders said boosters would only be effective if you’ve completed your initial shots.

“You’ve got to have the original antigen,” Dr. Karen Landers said. “The original priming dose.”

When it comes to getting vaccinated against COVID-19, Landers said waiting to start the vaccination process until a booster shot is available is a bad idea. She said waiting for the “newest” shot won’t benefit you if you don’t have the original.

“You are really looking at a situation where you are exposing yourself to a serious and deadly virus while waiting for the newest form of vaccine to come out,” Landers said. “You already have some immunity from your primary series. Then, you take the booster dose to remind your immune system about the immunity that you already have.”

She said nine to 12 months is a normal time frame for many vaccines and just because you may need a booster, doesn’t mean your original vaccine is ineffective.

“Wanting to ensure that efficacy continues, that is really the reason I see for boosters,” Landers said.

Landers said another reason for boosters is to help prevent against new variants that potentially will form in the future.

“Right now, it appears we are covering the variants with the vaccine, but these are viruses and they mutate,” Landers said.

Landers said if boosters are required after nine to 12 months and you decide not to get one, your first round of vaccine wouldn’t be as effective against current strains and might not protect you against new ones.

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