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Do seniors really need a COVID-19 booster shot?


Depending on when we went for the COVID vaccine, we could be eligible for the booster now … or not. Elderly seniors, as well as those in nursing homes and the immunocompromised, were first in line early in the year. The rest of us straggled in over the next several months. At this point, it’s unknown whether there should be a six- or eight-month wait before the booster.

The Pfizer booster (called Comirnaty) is now available to those 65 and older and some others depending on risk and medical conditions. At this writing, Moderna is asking for authorization, and there is no booster yet for the J&J vaccine.

Do we actually need a booster? We’re all wondering (my pharmacist says half of their calls are about boosters), and the answers are a mixed bag.

A pulmonary physician at a major university hospital said if we’re under 65 and relatively healthy, no, we don’t need one.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says that the vaccines we already received will start to wear off, so yes, we should get the booster, starting with seniors and nursing-home residents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling for booster shots only for the immunocompromised, but not others.

The World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on shots until poor countries get theirs.

While we wait for real answers, keep your vaccine record card where you can find it. You’ll need it, should you decide to get a booster.

What am I going to do? I’m going to stall. I’m going to wait to see how the booster plays out. With the highly contagious Delta variant being such a menace right now, I’d like to see if perhaps that’s going to be added to the booster vaccine.

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