Will a fourth COVID shot boost your immunity? The jury is out, Penn experts say
Will a fourth COVID shot boost your immunity?  The jury is out, Penn experts say

Will a fourth COVID shot boost your immunity? The jury is out, Penn experts say

Wherry also argues that because protection decreases over time, decisions about when to recommend boosters should be made in relation to new increases in the virus.

There are also not enough tools to measure changes in people’s immune systems, Wherry said.

“You can not go to your doctor and say, ‘Well, tell me where my COVID immunity is compared to three months ago.’ Is it time yet, or is it not time yet? ‘ So we may also want to design strategies to do immune health evaluations over time when it relates to COVID vaccination, ”he said.

‘I’m a healthy 50 year old. Should I get an extra booster? ‘

Wherry, who is about to turn 51, said that even though he is taking safety precautions, he will wait to get his fourth dose because he is a healthy adult.

“I do not know if there is strong enough evidence to say that healthy people between the ages of 50 and 65 benefit from protection against disease,” he said. “I’d rather wait and time it, maybe in the fall where we can expect another kind of increase, or I’ll just see the variations and see the numbers.”

Dr. Jeffrey Millstein, a regional medical director for Penn Primary Care, said he recommends boosters based on patients’ medical history rather than their age. For a healthy 50-year-old patient, he will come up with a recommendation based on their lifestyle.

“For example, if it’s someone who wants to travel a lot, or is in a profession where they have a lot of interaction close to other people, then I would recommend the people who are over 50 to get the booster,” said Millstein. “On the other hand, if they are still quite risk-averse and they wear masks everywhere they go and are careful and they have no underlying conditions, I would probably say, ‘see if you feel comfortable getting it, it’s OK, although I do not really want to recommend it highly. ‘”

Dr. Ray Carter, a chief physician at ChristianaCare’s Concord Health Center in Chadds Ford, said his health care system has seen an increase in demand for extra boosters over the past few weeks as concerns about the new variant increase.

“We do not try to make any decision on a uniform approach. We obviously take into account the patient’s wishes as well as their medical concerns, their medical problems, their past history, how they have done well with previous vaccines and the like,” he said. “So I’re mostly following the CDC’s guidelines for recommendations. But we certainly contextualize and individualize because we know our patients best in terms of their medical history and care, and patients must also be part of that decision. ”

That said, Carter said the data suggests that boosters reduce a person’s chances of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19, and that in itself is enough to justify another booster.

“And with likely additional variations on the horizon, or uptick in cases potentially in the coming months or seasons, that was the reason for moving forward with this recommendation for the second booster. In light of that, those are the things we ultimately try to “prevent most, hospitalizations and death. And that’s why this decision makes sense,” he said.

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