Is My COVID Vaccine Immunity Fading?
For many of us, as soon as the COVID-19 vaccine became available in late 2020 to early 2021, we were first in line to get it. Not only does the vaccine help protect against the serious effects of COVID, but it also offers the hope of getting us back to pre-COVID times. However, because you may have gotten it early, you might be six months or more out from your last COVID-19 dose. Does that mean your immunity to COVID-19 may be fading?
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control does show that antibody levels do decrease over time, and some fully vaccinated people will be infected with COVID as the more transmissible Delta variant continues to spread across the United States. The Delta variant spreads at least 50% faster than the original strain of COVID-19 and is more than twice as contagious as previous variants., which has contributed to some fully vaccinated people becoming infected.
However, even with the slight dip in immunity over time, it is essential to note that breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated are still rare. Most people hospitalized with severe illness continue to be unvaccinated, and the COVID vaccines continue to be effective in preventing hospitalization and death. However, no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people, and there will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick from COVID. The population most at risk of serious infection, even if they are vaccinated, are older age groups and people who may be immunocompromised, which is why the Food and Drug Administration, the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health have moved forward with approving third dose and booster shots for those groups.
After completing the primary series, some moderately or severely immunocompromised people should get an additional third dose given 28 days after the second dose. A third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved for people ages 5 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. A third dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is approved for people ages 18 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. The third dose of both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can help immunocompromised patients increase their antibody levels against COVID-19. Immunocompromised patients are some of the most susceptible to the severe effects of COVID-19. The continued aggressive spread of the Delta variant makes it critical to provide them with all the information and resources they need to stay safe and healthy.
The FDA and CDC also approved COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for everyone 18 years or older at least five months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series and two months after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. On Jan. 5, The Centers for Disease Control approved a booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-17 five months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. The booster shot is intended to “boost” the initial two doses’ long-term protection. A booster shot will help strengthen protection against severe disease for those at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 or the complications from severe disease. Federal and state regulatory agencies have also authorized medical providers the ability to give people a booster shot of a different COVID-19 vaccine, a strategy known as “mix and match,” if the patient prefers to get a booster dose that is different from their original COVID-19 vaccine series. If you have questions about what vaccine is best for you, talk to your provider.
If you qualify as an immunocompromised individual or fall in the eligibility criteria for a booster shot, you can schedule your vaccine appointment today through MyOchsner or by calling 844-888-2772. Ochsner Health will begin administering third dose and booster shots to individuals at our regularly scheduled vaccination events across the state.
When you log in to MyOchsner, you will choose “Schedule an Appointment.” Then click the tile/button labeled “COVID Vaccine + Booster.”
Increasing vaccinations bring us closer to reaching the threshold of vaccinated Louisianans and Mississippians needed to slow the spread and put an end to community transmission. It will take all of us working together to educate, encourage and persuade more of those living in our communities to get vaccinated. The key to ending this pandemic is at our fingertips, and your hard work and dedication make a difference.