BOSTON — Doctors say mixing vaccines for the booster is safe, but are you better off sticking with your original shot? You’ve been hearing public health officials say “Go get the booster shot,” but we’ve been hearing three major concerns about doing so.
The Omicron variant.
Doctors tell us despite whatever new research may come from Omicron, it’s still best to get your booster shot ASAP, instead of waiting for a potentially modified booster.
“It’s going to take several months before those boosters are going to be available if they’re going to be needed at all. And the reason to get it now is that we had a very high case incidence of COVID-19 today,” said Brigham Infectious Diseases Dr. Paul Sax. “The best way to protect it is to get that booster today and it kicks in very quickly.”
“Don’t wait. We do know that Omicron in the initial data we’ve seen coming out of other countries can spread very quickly,” said Julie Swann Health Systems expert with Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences [INFORMS]. “Particularly if it can reinfect people who have had the previous disease. So what’s most important today is that you have the maximum protection that you can have I think later is a good time to think about do I want to switch vaccines.
Swann brings us to Concern #2:
Pfizer says three doses is best to fight off Omicron, but what if I can’t get the same type of vaccine for my booster?
“Each manufacturer would of course like you to go back to theirs and each one of them runs trials looking at both the safety and the efficacy of their own vaccines. Everybody’s also looking at the data related to the Omicron variant. So Pfizer is going to have the most data about Pfizer,” said Swann. “I did get Pfizer my first two shots and I did get it for my third shot. But if I had not been able to I would have taken another one if it had been available.”
Swann, who has worked with the CDC, said while the official recommendation is to get the original type of shot that you received, you are allowed to mix and match if that is not available.
What if I’ve already had COVID?
“If you get a vaccine after having COVID, your levels of antibodies, protective antibodies, are very high in a way that should protect you better than just having a natural infection,” Sax said. “In addition people that have had COVID before, they don’t all have the same degree of protection. We’ve known for some time some are very much protected and others can get reinfected, sometimes severely. So I do recommend people who had COVID-19 get a vaccine even though they might be partially protected.”
Dr. Sax also said if you’ve had COVID, you should completely recover from your illness before getting boosted.
Download the free Boston 25 News app for up-to-the-minute push alerts
©2021 Cox Media Group