Is the Booster Shot Necessary?
"My mother is 90 years old and fully vaccinated for the COVID virus. Now that booster shots are available, I wonder how important it is that I take her to be vaccinated again. Is this necessary?
I have heard all sorts of things about this vaccine and so has my mother. While she did get vaccinated, we still wonder about safety and side effects. Frankly, I want to know when enough is enough!
How do you weigh in on this?"
My response to this one is yes, get the booster shot. The reason I can respond so quickly, with no hesitation, is because of your mother’s age. The older we are, the weaker our immune systems are. Even though she was vaccinated earlier, your mother may have lost quite a bit of the original immune response she got from the first round.
Think about other vaccines and diseases. Multiple doses of childhood vaccines are given because infants do not mount a strong enough response to the diseases. Protection is needed early in life, as well as later, when that protection must be renewed. We all need tetanus vaccinations every 10 years for this reason--our immune response fades. In the case of the flu vaccine, the flu itself varies from year to year, so they have to alter the formula each go-round to stay ahead of the influenza viruses circulating in other parts of the world.
I recommend that you seek credible advice from unbiased sources, like the Center for Disease Control (CDC). That organization is the epicenter in the United States for information and recommendations on communicable disease control. Get the facts, read about the myths they’ve debunked, and be an informed consumer. Start at this page on their web site and go on from there to other pages. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html
I will reiterate: at your mother’s age, you want to avoid risk when can. The COVID virus is still out there circulating, and even vaccinated people are getting breakthrough infections. Take her in for the booster shot. The risk of disease far outweighs any risk from the vaccine for her.
I wish you clarity as you navigate all of the information out there. Do stay safe, and take the steps necessary to protect your mother.
Family Caregiving Advice Column
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