As you may have seen in the news last week, an additional mRNA booster has been recommended by the CDC and FDA for those over 50 years of age, and particularly for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying health conditions that may increase their risk of severe disease. It also includes all adults who are immunocompromised, as well as those who received a primary J&J vaccination and booster dose. Folks in these categories would be eligible to receive an additional mRNA booster 4 months after the last vaccination.
So what to do?
While we know that the original booster continues to do a good job of preventing hospitalizations and death, there is some evidence that this protection wanes over time. Additionally, there is some evidence that indicates a 4th dose does provide additional protection, albeit not as much of a boost as the third dose.
Your decision to get this next booster, and when, may depend on your own health status as well as those around you, your risk of exposure, and the potential side effects you may experience for a few days after getting the vaccines.
The new variant of Omicron, BA.2, is even more transmissible but thankfully does not appear to be more severe. It has now become the predominant strain in the U.S. It is still unclear if this will cause another wave of infections, however. Hopefully, as things warm up here in New England, more people will be outside to minimize the extent of any surge in infections, but per usual, spring is slow to arrive! It is also expected that we’ll likely have another wave come the fall/winter.
I strongly recommend reading this blog post from Katelyn Jetelina, MPH, PhD. She lays it out very well, and it might help in your decision-making.
“Fourth Dose Q&A” – Blog Post by Katelyn Jetelina, MPH, PhD, “Your Local Epidemiologist,” 03/31/2022