Joseph R. Anticaglia MD
Medical Advisory Board
John, a construction worker, got down from his truck and his left foot landed on a rusty nail. Ouch! When he took his shoe off, the foot was bleeding, and he couldn’t put pressure on it. Fellow workers took him to a nearby hospital where X-rays showed no evidence of a fracture.
The emergency room physician cleaned the area and then asked John, “When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?”
“I don’t remember exactly. Maybe 15 or 20 years ago.”
“Before you leave, I want you to have a tetanus shot (Tdap). The effectiveness of the tetanus vaccine wears off over time. At this time, you are not protected when an accident like this happens.”
Your immune cells make specific proteins, antibodies, in response to the COVID-19 virus or the vaccine. The antibody level in your blood to the coronavirus in fully vaccinated people decreases significantly over time. The current recommendation is that people get a booster shot six to eight months after being fully vaccinated.
Booster shots are additional doses of a vaccine needed periodically to boost the immune system. Booster shots are not new. For instance, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine is recommended for adults very ten years. Other examples include hepatitis B, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR),
People often ask, “How long does the COVID-19vaccine protect us against the virus?” In the past, experts didn’t have the data, the evidence to answer that question. Now, they have the data to recommend a COVID-19 booster shot to protect us from the Delta variant. The triumvirate of doctors Murphy, Walensky and Fauci made a joint TV appearance (a datamercial) in August of this year describing the latest data and explaining the need for a COVID booster shot.
In essence, CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky MD presented data that demonstrated COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness wanes over time. The Delta variant is the predominant cause of COVID infection in the United States. Doctor cited a Mayo Clinic study that showed data indicating that both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s efficacy has gradually decreased after individuals received their second dose of the vaccine.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases underscored 4 data points:
- “Antibody levels decline over time
- Higher levels of antibodies are associated with higher levels of vaccine efficacy
- Higher levels of antibodies may be needed to protect against the Delta variant
- A booster mRNA immunization increases antibody titer by tenfold and probably much more
Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, MD advised individuals who have been fully vaccinated, that is, eight months after you got your second shot of Moderna or Pfizer, you can plan to get a booster shot beginning September 20 of this year. He urged people who are not vaccinated to do so as quickly as possible.
Breakthrough infections occur when fully vaccinated people get infected from COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), Scientists label these cases as “breakthrough” infections since the virus broke through the protective shield of the vaccine. These infections are becoming more prevalent in countries who once enjoyed a dramatic decline in the number of cases caused by this virus.
Three factors seem to be at work regarding the resurgence of COVID: the decline of antibody levels over time, the emergence of the delta variant, and infected, unvaccinated people spreading the disease. Israeli researchers have alerted the international scientific community to the vagaries of the delta virus.
Israel’s Grim Experience
About 78% of the people in Israel 12 years of age and older are fully vaccinated. Yet, they have experienced a reversal in their battle against Covid. According to a Science article in August of this year, …“with nearly 650 new cases daily per million people- more than half are in fully vaccinate people.” The data underscore “the extraordinary transmissibility of the Delta variant” and the strong concerns that the “benefits of vaccination ebb over time.”
Most of the Israelis have received the Pfizer vaccine, Israel became the first country to offer a third dose, a booster shot, of the vaccine. The unvaccinated are at greater risk to succumb to the Delta variant.
Wake Up Call
If you are unvaccinated, plan to get vaccinated! If you are fully vaccinated, plan to get the booster shot; particularly if you are immunocompromised, have co-morbidities or are elderly.
- Meredith Wadman; A grim warning from Israel: Vaccination blunts, but does not defeat Delta; Science, Aug. 16, 2021
- News Release: Johnson & Johnson Announces Data to Support Boosting its Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine; August 25,2021
In the Johnson & Johnson August 25 20 21 news release, J & J says it has data that people who received its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine could benefit from a booster shot after six months.
This article is intended solely as a learning experience. Please consult your physician for diagnostic and treatment options.