Our phones are ringing off the hook now that the CDC has recommended a 3rd Covid-19 vaccine or a Booster for certain high-risk people. This virus has been confusing from the beginning and the recommendations are confusing as well.
The term "booster" is not really accurate because the CDC is talking about getting the same vaccine one more time. So if you had Pfizer or Moderna, you would get an extra shot. At this time the CDC hasn't recommended it for J&J, but most physicians would say if you had the one shot J&J, high-risk people should get an extra shot. It is recommended that you get the same one as the first vaccine, but that is not essential.
So who should get this extra "boost" of vaccine against Covid-19? The CDC is recommending people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised get the 3rd shot as they are most at risk for complications and severe illness from "breakthrough" infection. Let me break down what that means: People who have cancer, HIV, colitis, autoimmune conditions (Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis), chronic kidney disease, no spleen, or are taking immune-suppressive medications. Those medicines include Prednisone, Imuran, Methotrexate, Remicade, Humira, and Tacrolimas among others.
The studies show this extra boost does provide extra protection, especially with the very contagious Delta variant. We don't have data yet on protection from the upcoming Lamda variant.
What if you are not in that group above? Can you get the extra vaccine?
Let's remember that people who are immunized may have "breakthrough" infection, but they usually have an easy time with it. Only rarely are immunized people hospitalized. The surge we are now experiencing and the serious pressure on healthcare is from unvaccinated people. We have data from Massachusetts and it is amazing. There have been only 9,969 reported breakthrough Covid-19 infections, representing .23 percent of the total. (repeat .23%) And only 445 hospitalizations from fully vaccinated people or 0.01%
If you are not in the high risk group, the vaccine is being saved for people who are (and hopefully shared with other countries). That said, they are not checking medical records and it is thought that everyone will be allowed to get it within weeks.