Do I Need a Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Shot?
By WSJ Staff
Studies are under way exploring whether we will need to take
booster shots to stay protected against Covid-19, and drugmakers
are working on the shots. Here is what we know and don't know about
the need for boosters.
Do I need a booster shot for my Covid-19 vaccine?
You probably will need a booster shot, though the matter is
still under study. Though some vaccines, such as the one for
measles, offer lifelong protection against a virus, other shots
don't. The vaccine for tetanus and diphtheria requires a booster
every 10 years, for instance, and women are supposed to get the
whooping-cough vaccine each time they are pregnant, according to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine
Many researchers suspect the immunity provided by Covid-19
vaccines will wane over time. They have that expectation partly
because the natural immunity people develop against milder
coronaviruses declines. "Historically, at least with the
coronaviruses, the mild common cold coronaviruses, the durability
of the protection from infection isn't very long," Anthony Fauci,
director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Disease, said at The Wall Street Journal's Tech Health conference
in June. Another reason researchers say we will probably need a
booster shot is to protect against any emerging coronavirus
variants that are able to evade current vaccines.
When should I get a booster shot?
It may be every year, 18 months or even two years. It could be a
different time frame. We really don't know yet. Whether and how
often we would need to get a booster shot is under study right now.
Remember, the Covid-19 vaccines haven't been around long, so not
much time has passed to assess how long their protection lasts. In
April, Pfizer Inc. released data indicating its vaccine remained
effective six months after the second dose. Researchers can sort
out how often we would need to get a booster shot after figuring
how long the vaccines provide their fullest protection against
Is it safe for me to get a booster shot from a different vaccine
That is under study right now. In June, NIAID, which is part of
the National Institutes of Health, started a study looking at
whether mixing and matching vaccines and boosters could prolong
immunity and better protect against variants. One thing the study
will explore is the best combination of shots. It may be that
getting a vaccine from one manufacturer and a booster from another
might actually produce stronger protection, researchers say. The
ability to mix-and-match might also simplify the logistics of
giving people boosters.
Will boosters better protect against coronavirus variants?
Researchers say the current vaccines appear to work well against
variants of concern that have emerged so far. Yet they may not work
as strongly against variants as they do against early strains. For
that reason, we may want booster shots to ensure we get the fullest
level of protection possible against the variants. And we would
want booster shots if any variants emerge that prove better able to
evade current vaccines. Drugmakers are working on shots targeting
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 11, 2021 11:05 ET (15:05 GMT)
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