Many Americans can now get a second COVID-19 booster, but it’s difficult to know who needs it right now and who can wait. Extra Pfizer or Moderna injections have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for persons 50 and older, as well as some younger people with extremely impaired immune systems. It’s an attempt to stay ahead of the next coronavirus outbreak.

Because the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is low, it’s easy to dismiss demands for another dosage — or for people who haven’t been vaccinated or boosted to do so, according to Dr. Erica Johnson, an infectious disease specialist with the American Board of Internal Medicine.

If you’re on the fence, take advantage of the downtime to chat to your doctor about how protected you are — and need to be, reports AP.

Who can Receive a Second Booster? 

Anyone over the age of 50 can get the booster shot as long as it’s been at least four months since their last vaccine. Patients with highly weakened immune systems, such as organ transplant recipients, as young as 12 years old, can also benefit.

Adults can pick between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for their extra injection, while children can only get the Pfizer vaccine.

What about the Johnson & Johnson Fans? 

Adults who had J&J’s single-dose vaccine were already eligible for a booster of any type, but the CDC recommends that only a small percentage of them obtain another.

A new study indicated that having a second Moderna or Pfizer shot was better than obtaining a second J&J dose. As a result, anyone who has received a second J&J shot should choose for a Moderna or Pfizer dose.

If they’ve already had one of those boosters, only those who fit the most recent criteria — age or a weak immune system — are eligible for another, according to the CDC.

What Inspired the Change?

Vaccines still provide excellent protection against serious disease and death, but their efficacy against minor infections begins to fade months later. The vaccines also don’t perform as well as they did earlier in the pandemic against new varieties like the super-contagious omicron mutant.

That’s why everyone aged 12 and up, regardless of health, has been advised to obtain a first booster to give themselves the best chance of fending against omicron. Only roughly half of the people who are eligible have done so.

Officials are concerned that the United States will be next, as an omicron sibling has caused outbreaks in other nations, spurring attempts to provide extra protection to the most vulnerable.

What do We Know about Another Booster?

Many experts believe it is restricted, therefore public health professionals must rely on their best judgment.

According to a recent CDC research, two Pfizer or Moderna doses with a booster were 94 percent effective in preventing death or the need for a ventilator during the US omicron wave. Immunocompromised patients exhibited the lowest level of protection (74 percent), despite the fact that majority hadn’t received the necessary third dose.

During the omicron spike, Israel began offering adults aged 60 and up a second booster. According to preliminary findings published online last week, those who chose another booster had fewer deaths than those who skipped the fourth dose.

Because chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes grow more widespread as individuals get older, the FDA chose to put the age limit at 50 instead of 60. This makes people more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Is a Second Booster Really Necessary?

An extra shot is a possibility, according to the CDC, but those most vulnerable to severe disease, such as adults 65 and older and people in their 50s with several health conditions, are the most likely to benefit.

When Should I Purchase it?

Experts disagree yet again, partially because it’s unclear how long any additional advantage will remain.

Johnson, who handles patients at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, said, “We can never really time when the next wave is coming, or when someone might get infected.” “To be as prepared as possible, I believe everyone should keep their immunizations up to date as much as possible.”

Older persons and the immune-compromised may benefit from a second dosage today, but “there’s less urgency in an otherwise healthy person,” according to University of Pennsylvania immunologist E. John Wherry.

Wherry, 50, said he’s healthy enough to wait until the fall to see whether cases climb enough to warrant another booster. This is because allowing the immune reaction to mature and strengthen between vaccines allows the immunological response to mature and strengthen.

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