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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – Because the variety of omicron variant instances rise, two federal businesses have authorized boosters pictures of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for teenagers 12-15 years previous.
Many mother and father nonetheless have questions concerning the booster pictures for his or her youngsters. Sonja A. Rasmussen, M.D., a professor within the departments of pediatrics and epidemiology on the UF School of Medication and the UF School of Public Well being and Well being Professions, sat down to debate what mother and father have to know.
Q: What’s a booster shot and why is it wanted?
A: A booster is an additional dose of vaccine that helps immunity last more. Booster pictures are frequent for a lot of vaccines. Most of the vaccines youngsters already obtain require booster doses, together with the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, and hepatitis B pictures. Adults additionally want boosters, similar to an added dose of the tetanus shot each 10 years. The COVID-19 vaccines initially supplied a really excessive degree of immune safety. Nonetheless, we now have realized that our degree of immunity declines over time. For most individuals, the vaccines nonetheless present good safety in opposition to severe illness, hospitalization and dying. However the waning immunity means extra individuals who had been vaccinated can get contaminated and mildly sick with COVID-19. As well as, the omicron variant that’s inflicting many of the COVID-19 instances in the USA proper now’s extremely contagious. To guard in opposition to the omicron variant, we want a fair larger degree of immunity. By getting a booster dose, we get that further safety.
Q: Is that this the identical dose as the unique Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the way quickly does booster shot immunity set up itself?
A: The booster dose is identical as every of the unique two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. That dose has been proven to be protected and efficient. It takes about one to 2 weeks for the booster shot to be efficient.
Q: How a lot is understood concerning the booster shot’s skill to guard in opposition to the omicron and delta variants?
A: The excellent news is that the booster shot provides us the extra safety that we have to sort out these variants. It gives robust safety in opposition to extreme illness, hospitalization and dying from the omicron and delta variants. Nonetheless, no vaccine is 100% efficient. Presently, when there are such a lot of folks with COVID-19, we want a number of layers of safety. Till the numbers of instances come down, we have to proceed to put on masks and keep away from crowded locations with poor air flow.
Q: The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention really helpful the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 12 to fifteen in Might. What information and necessary insights concerning the vaccine in that age group has the scientific neighborhood gotten since then?
A: On the finish of 2021, over 18 million doses of Pfizer vaccine have been given to youngsters and youths ages 12 to fifteen. The vaccine has been proven to be protected and efficient on this age group. Unintended effects on this age group are just like these seen in adults. They’re sometimes gentle and final one to 3 days.
Q: The FDA additionally considerably shortened the booster shot ready interval to at the least 5 months for everybody over age 12. What had been the information and elements driving that call?
A: The time between the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and the booster has been shortened from six months to 5 months. That’s as a result of research present that by 5 months, protecting antibodies had dropped to a degree the place further safety was wanted. Of word, the time really helpful between the preliminary collection and the booster doses differ, relying on the kind of vaccine obtained. Folks (youngsters or adults) who obtained the Pfizer vaccine ought to get the booster at the least 5 months after their second dose. For adults who obtained the Moderna vaccine, the booster ought to be given at the least 5 months after their second dose. For adults who obtained the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine, the booster ought to be given at the least two months after their first shot.
Q: What has the scientific neighborhood realized concerning the prevalence of myocarditis amongst vaccine recipients after it was put into widespread use?
A: Myocarditis is an irritation of the center muscle that could be a very uncommon situation attributable to the mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines. Myocarditis happens extra typically in male adolescents and younger adults and is extra typically seen after the second dose of the vaccine. When it’s seen, it happens inside every week after vaccination. Most sufferers who develop myocarditis after receiving the vaccine reply properly to drugs and relaxation, and really feel higher rapidly.
We now have info on tens of millions of teenagers who’ve obtained the Pfizer vaccine. Within the group with the best danger (males 18-26 years), the possibility of getting myocarditis is about 1 in 10,000 to twenty,000. The possibility of getting myocarditis from a COVID-19 an infection is larger than the possibility of getting it from the vaccine.
Additionally, research from Israel have proven that the possibility of getting myocarditis after a booster dose is analogous after the second dose of vaccine. In a research of 44,000 youngsters age 12 to fifteen years previous in Israel who obtained a booster shot, two developed gentle myocarditis.
Q: Will we have to proceed to have boosters?
A: We don’t know the reply to that query proper now. That depends upon two issues: our immune programs and the virus. We might want to proceed to check the immune response after booster pictures to see if the safety wanes once more. And we have to control the virus: If it modifications sufficient that our immune system has a tough time recognizing it, we would have to have further pictures. It’s potential that pictures could be wanted yearly, just like the flu pictures which might be really helpful yearly.
Q: How quickly will the booster vaccine be out there and the place can I get one?
A: The booster is on the market now at websites the place the COVID-19 vaccine is obtainable. That features UF Well being websites, physician’s workplaces, native pharmacies and the Florida Division of Well being in Alachua County. If you happen to need assistance discovering a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, go to www.vaccines.gov or name 1-800-232-0233.
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