Do I *really* need a COVID-19 booster? Does it matter?


A: Yes. The boosters are an essential part of the COVID-19 vaccine series. They are not optional or extra.

When the COVID-19 vaccine trails began, the main goal was to make a safe, effective vaccine that could be tested as fast as possible. The two doses in the primary series (for Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax, AstraZeneca, and others) were spaced quite close together, as vaccines go. This was not because 3 or 4 weeks was thought to be the *best possible* spacing. No: it was because we needed to get vaccine trials done as fast as possible because people were dying. The goals were safe, fast, and effective. Fast was a priority.

In the fullness of time, we learned that our immune systems benefit quite a bit from a reminder dose of COVID-19 vaccines several months after the initial vaccines. In fact, what we have learned over the last year is that people who have had their primary series + a booster dose are much less likely to die of COVID-19 than those who just got the primary dose. (90% less likely to die, specifically).

So yes! You really do need a booster. The updated booster is a great choice. Actually, if you’re in the US, it’s your only choice. If you haven’t had it, go get it. And yes, we feel for our U.K. friends who can’t get it until they’re age 50! Get with it, NHS!

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