What to know about the COVID-19 booster shot

The COVID-19 booster shot is available for those 65 and older or those who are 18 and older with an immunocompromised system.

Udom Pinyo

The COVID-19 booster shot is available for those 65 and older or those who are 18 and older with an immunocompromised system.

A virus that swept the nation in late December of 2019 changed life for everyone. Coronavirus, COVID-19, is an illness that has taken much more than it has given. Wearing masks, social distancing, and self isolation were terms rarely used outside of the medical field before. These actions are now second hand nature to most.

As the virus spread across the country and into the United States, Arkansas, like many other states, became an area where more people were infected than not. Over the course of two years over 28,000 have been hospitalized and has had well over 520,000 cases. In mid March of last year a vaccine was being created and in December was released. There are currently three different types of vaccines available: Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. At this time approximately 1.5 million people are vaccinated in Arkansas, which is about half of the state.

In September of this year, booster shots became available for those who have already received both doses of their vaccination. This raised the question: If I already received the first two doses, why do I need a third? Dr. Katherine O’Brien explained on World Health Organization’s 53rd episode of “COVID-19: Booster Shots” that if immunocompromised people who received the vaccine and their body did not respond in the way it was supposed to, “it may be necessary to receive a third does because those first two aren’t doing what they do in otherwise normal, healthy people.” Another reason is because the vaccine may be less effective because of your body’s immunity to it.

At this time those who can receive the booster shot are people 65 or older, residents in long-term care, or those 18 or older who are at risk of severe diseases, health conditions, or certain jobs they may work at. Earlier this month Pfizer released information about an oral pill that may prevent Covid patients from becoming hospitalized or dying. The company has asked the FDA to grant emergency authorization for the pill and the United States hopes to buy enough for 10 million people earlier this week. Fatigue, dizziness, fever, loss of appetite, chills, among other effects may be expected of those who receive the booster shot.

While no one is sure when this disastrous infection will end, people have the ability to help lessen the rising number of cases. As you have probably heard over the last couple of years, wash your hands with soap and water, wear a mask (vaccinated or not), and keep your physical distance. This is life as we know it.