4 News Now Q&A: Will regular COVID vaccine boosters become the norm?
Your Questions Answered
Q: Will regular COVID vaccine boosters become the norm?
A: It has been called a scientific breakthrough. The production of safe and effective COVID vaccines is happening at a faster rate than ever before. But health experts say the current supply of vaccines might not protect us forever.
That’s why researchers are already developing and testing booster shots.
So, how do they work?
The first time you get a dose of a vaccine against a particular infection, it’s called a prime. You’re getting your immune response prepped to fight off that illness. When you get another dose against that same infection, it’s called a boost. You’re building on immunity you already have from the first dose.
Booster shots take advantage of a phenomenon called “immunological memory.” Our immune cells essentially remember vaccines we’ve previously received, and respond more quickly and effectively to future shots, building our immunity to levels to where we can be confident we’ll be protected.
This is also the approach most COVID-19 vaccines use. The first shot gets your immune system going, but the second shot leads to more consistent protection. And since the virus mutates about once every two weeks, health officials say a yearly booster shot will most likely be needed to deal with future variants.
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