Do You Need a Boost?

The current COVID-19 vaccines are highly protective against severe disease; as of August 2021, more than 98% of coronavirus patients who needed hospitalization in the United States were unvaccinated. Yet, in September and October, an FDA advisory committee recommended that certain groups of people who received two jabs of an mRNA vaccine six months prior should receive a booster, others still may be eligible for a booster, and those who got a single dose of J&J should top up with a second shot after two months’ time for maximum protection. 

Why use booster shots?

For tetanus and other inoculations, booster shots help the waning of immune memory.

The ability of the vaccines to keep your immune system protecting you may decrease over time, according to the FDA and the CDC. Another goal is “to try to reduce transmission of the highly contagious delta variant,” says John V. Williams, division chief of infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Because questions about who should get boosters continues to evolve, we're pointing you to this Pittwire story, which draws on Pitt and national experts.

We also encourage you to check with your doctor for the latest information.  

Vetting Boosters

Clinician researchers will continue to vet COVID-19 boosters here in Pittsburgh.

Led by Judy Martin, professor of pediatrics, the University of Pittsburgh Vaccine Trials Unit (PVTU) is participating in a national study of adult booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine. It is one of 12 sites for this clinical trial series that assesses the safety, reactions and immune response of a delayed vaccine boost. The study is expected to run through May 2025.

“This is an adaptive study design,” Martin told WESA FM. “So we continue to bring in additional vaccines [including those targeting variants] over time to look at the combinations.”   —Gavin Jenkins