COVID-19 Booster Vaccinations

Photo credit: Asian Development Bank (Creative Commons License CC BY-NC 2.0)

Sunday October 16, 2022

Yesterday I received the covid-19 bivalent vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has approved two updated bivalent boosters — the Pfizer and Moderna variants. Bivalent boosters are supposed to shield against the original covid-19 virus as well as the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

I thought this was worth writing about because yesterday the NY Times published an article reporting that significantly lower numbers of Americans were opting for booster shots, citing a lack of awareness or simple disinterest.

As White House Presses for Booster Shots, Americans Are Slow to Get Them – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Like a lot of us, I haven’t had time to take a deep dive into covid-19 data. However, a survey of credible sources leads me to believe we can expect increased infections across our population this winter. With the upcoming holiday season and more indoor activities during winter, I thought it made sense to get the booster vaccine before the end of October. Whether we experience another wave of infections remains to be seen, but the odds seem to suggest it is a strong possibility. This article from The Atlantic provides a good account of public health experts’ concerns:

Warning Signs About the First Post-pandemic Winter – The Atlantic

My own assessment of risk versus benefit prompted me to get the booster. At the least, I believe it can help shift the odds in my favor should we experience anther large outbreak.

The downside seems minimal. I’ve heard some accounts of vaccination side effects, but they have varied. Adding to the heap of anecdotes, I experienced soreness in the arm where I received the vaccine, headaches, and extreme fatigue. I did not experience dizziness as has been reported by others. These side effects lasted approximately 24 hours. The best response was to set aside any challenging physical or mental activies during that period and simply rest. I’m sure other peoples’ experiences will vary, but the cost/benefit analysis would appear to favor getting a booster vaccine.