Should I get vaccinated again for COVID-19?

When will I get vaccinated?

Spain will start new vaccination campaign on September 26, where updated booster doses against the omicron variant will be offered. The order of vaccination will be similar to previous stages of the pandemic: for now it will start with people over 80 and people who live in residences to, little by little, vaccinate the entire population, according to the Ministry of Health.

Should I get vaccinated if I haven’t already?

It is never too late to get vaccinated against COVID-19 for the first time and it is recommended to do so. Several studies They suggest that the immunity generated by the infection alone is insufficient, and that the immune response is much broader and longer lasting if we also get vaccinated (hybrid immunity). As the bivalent vaccines combine the original variant with the latest omicron variants (either BA.1 or BA.4/BA.5), it is possible to receive them after a complete vaccination schedule.

Should I get vaccinated if I already have two or three doses?

The new doses have been updated against the currently dominant variant, omicron. Although some are directed against omicron BA.1 and others against BA.4/BA.5, the important thing is that they cover the evolutionary leap that SARS-CoV-2 has taken since 2019. For this reason, an extra dose can help us to amplify the immune response.

Should I get vaccinated if I have recently been infected?

Many Spaniards have been infected or reinfected in recent months, presumably by some omicron variant (probably BA.5). A study noted that it would be appropriate to wait at least two months after infection, and This is how they have established it in the United States. To optimize its effect, some immunology experts recommend waiting about 6 months after infection before receiving a booster, to give the immune system time to mount a full and powerful response. However, times may depend on the individual situation and conditions.

I am young and I am healthy. Do I really need more doses?

Although early doses maintain tremendous protection against hospitalization and death, protection against infection rapidly declines within a few months. For this reason, by getting vaccinated we can avoid getting infected and help reduce transmission at the population level during the winter season.

Which vaccine is better, the one adapted to BA.1 or BA.4/BA.5?

Immunologists and epidemiologists agree that the best vaccine is the one we have within our reach. At the population level, many studies will be published on which combination or updated dose is better, or even if it is better to alternate arms or not. At the individual level that doesn’t matter and the differences are not expected to be significant: any vaccine will boost our immune response for the next wave of fall and winter.

Are the adapted vaccines better or the original ones?

Studies comparing effectiveness will take time to arrive, but immunologists believe that they will be similar, at the very least. As the third dose already did after the appearance of omicron at the end of 2021, the new booster dose will increase the population’s immune wall and help reduce the number of serious cases in the coming months.

Will I have to get vaccinated every year?

What long-term relationship we will have with SARS-CoV-2 and its vaccines remains to be seen. It is very possible that the most vulnerable sectors of the population should be vaccinated every year as they already do for other diseases, such as influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia.

They say that these new vaccines have been tested only on mice. How do I know they are safe?

Tailored doses against BA.1 have been tested in clinical trials with hundreds of people. Those directed against BA.4/BA.5 only have data available in mice. The latter is normal and is already done every year with flu vaccines: COVID-19 vaccines have already been used with millions of people and their safety has been proven over and over again. The minor changes that the update supposes are not a problem in that sense.

But I’ve heard that getting vaccinated too many times can backfire on your immune system…

Many vaccines have more than four doses in their regimen, and others such as the flu vaccine are used every year. In that sense, receiving new doses is not counterproductive.

Will I avoid getting infected if I get vaccinated? How long?

The COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, but with the latest variants this protection has been shown to be much less and to last a few months. When and how long the new doses will limit transmission remains to be seen, but, while similar to the previous ones, they may help reduce the number of cases. This, at the population level, can be of the utmost importance to reduce the number of hospitalizations and avoid outbreaks in places such as residences.


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