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Why would you need a mRNA booster shot?

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 10:27 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -The mRNA vaccine is a new, innovative technology that gives the body a message, teaching the immune system how to fight an infection, without giving the person a live or weakened virus, like traditional vaccines.

So, why would there be a need for another shot if the message was delivered?

Dr. Wesley Willeford, Medical Director of Disease Control at Jefferson County Department of Health, said after getting an mRNA vaccine, the body does remember the message and can develop the antibodies needed to fight COVID-19, but the antibodies may not be strong enough.

“They can still provide protection, but they may not prevent you from getting the virus in the first place,” Dr. Willeford said.

Willeford explained getting another dose of a vaccine will likely stir the immune system to make antibodies and have them at the ready warding off infection which would get the state closer to herd immunity.

Herd immunity means there are so many people immune to the virus there aren’t many people left to infect.

“Our numbers in Jefferson County and the state, there are plenty of cases. So, it’s spreading easily. I think herd immunity is not something we’re seeing right now; we’re not even starting to see that. But, to be able to get there to where it’s not causing problems, or it’s a mild and treatable illness, we’d have to get a lot of people vaccinated,” Dr. Willeford said.

Willeford said with mass vaccination, COVID-19 could become a mild illness that doesn’t cause hospitalization or death.

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