If you have not had your COVID-19 Booster, please read this!
As I discussed last month, I do think it is important for everyone to get a booster shot for COVID-19, even if you are young and have no medical conditions. I discussed the data on the last blog entry, but some people still feel that they don’t need a third shot. Please remember that there are several vaccines that we give that do come in a series of three. HPV vaccines (to prevent cervical cancer) and hepatitis B vaccines are both given as a series of three shots in six months. When they were first released, they were designated as a 3-shot series because the vaccine companies had many years to test and trial various dosing regimens to discover the optimal dosing regimen. When they realized that 3 shots were best, they released them as 3-shot series. Because the COVID-19 vaccines were developed and released without the benefit of years of testing, they were initially thought to be a 2-shot regimen, but after many months of study (and in the face of mutated variant strains of COVID-19), the vaccine really should be thought of as a 3-shot regimen. Therefore, if you only had two shots, don’t look at the third shot as a “booster.” Having had two shots, you should consider yourself as not having the full series for the vaccine, and you should come in to get that last shot to complete the full series.
What about a fourth shot?
Many people are still asking about a fourth shot, especially if they received their third approximately six months ago. At this point, there are some people that should definitely receive a fourth shot, so if you are one of these people and have not received a fourth shot, please contact the office:
For everyone else, you really don’t need a fourth shot. Studies in healthcare workers in Israel show that a fourth shot do increase COVID antibodies, but they don’t really prevent infection with Omicron. And unfortunately, the Omicron-specific boosters currently being developed by Pfizer at this point don’t appear to work any better than the original booster shot. There is some discussion that a fourth shot may be recommended in the fall since respiratory viruses increase in the fall and winter, just like cold and flu viruses, and we may see a resurgence of COVID-19 then. And of course, if another variant starts to emerge, all of these plans may change as well.
What if you still want a fourth shot?
Since both Pfizer and Moderna have received full FDA approval, it is possible to receive a fourth shot as an “off label” use. Some people may want to get a fourth shot before they travel, especially if someone at home has a compromised immune system. You should understand that the third shot alone gives you excellent protection against severe illness or hospitalization, and a fourth shot really doesn’t do much to lower that chance any further. It is also important to know that although everyone in our own office received our third shots as soon as they were authorized, no one in our office is currently planning on getting a fourth shot at this time. Despite all of this information, if you still would like to receive a fourth shot, contact our office, and we can put you on a list to call. We still have vaccines that may expire before being given, so if a vial is open and will otherwise go to waste, we can call you to receive the vaccine.
At home COVID-19 test kits
The two at-home rapid antigen tests that I discussed last time are now available for purchase. Both of these tests seem to be better at detecting Omicron compared to some of the other available tests. Clinitest by Siemens is available at Amazon through this link. In addition, the Roche COVID-19 At Home Test is available through the Optum Store. If you need to buy more at home tests, these are the ones I would recommend.
I hope this downward trend in COVID-19 infections continues, and that the worst is really behind us. I will keep you all up to date if anything new develops.