4 News Now Q&A: What should you know before getting a COVID booster shot?

Your Questions Answered

Q: What should you know before getting a COVID booster shot?

At this point, most of us are not eligible for a COVID booster shot. Pfizer and Moderna’s additional dose is only allowed for certain groups. But now that the extra shot is on the cusp of approval for every adult, we want to help you make an informed decision before getting the third dose. 

Do boosters use the same recipe as the original vaccines? 

The short answer is yes.

The vaccines were not tweaked to better match the delta variant because they are still working well.

The vaccines work by training your body to recognize and fight the spike protein that coats the virus and helps it invade the body’s cells. Vaccine developers say the variant’s mutations were not different enough to clear that detection.

Manufacturing doses with a new formula would have also delayed the rollout of boosters.

Currently, Moderna and Pfizer are studying boosters adjusted for the delta variant and other variants to be ready if one is ever needed. Health experts would have to decide if and when a vaccine formula swap would be necessary and worthwhile.

Which version should you get when boosters are authorized? 

Experts with the Washington state Department of Health say you cannot go wrong with any option.

“The data on which kind of vaccine and what combination is very preliminary and there’s not a recommendation about which type of vaccine as your booster dose,” Acting Assistant Secretary Michele Roberts said. “If you’re confused, we really would recommend talking with your health care provider if you have any further questions.”

What are the side effects of a booster shot? 

The CDC said symptoms largely mirror how people felt after their second dose.

The side effects were mostly considered mild or moderate, and arm pain, fatigue and headache were the most commonly reported symptoms after the third shot.

Do you have questions about the booster shot? Ask away

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READ: Confused about COVID booster shots? Here’s what you need to know