Omicron Covid Booster seems to work regardless of side effects

Omicron Covid Booster seems to work regardless of side effects

If you have already received your Omicron-specific covid booster, you may experience some side effects. Even the ones that were more intense than your previous shot.

But there’s no need to worry: Experts and new data say the new shots are working — whether you experience moderate, mild or no side effects.

“Don’t focus too much on the side effects, because I really think the main objective here is to protect people. So focus on that benefit of the new vaccine,” Dr. Yvonne Maldonadoprofessor of pediatric infectious diseases at Stanford University School of Medicine, told CNBC’s Make It.

Received approval from new boosters US Food and Drug Administration And CDC Before they finish clinical trials. but Newly published information Pfizer and BioNTech’s ongoing clinical trials provide the first glimpse of how well its new shot works in humans, showing that the new booster Creates a stronger immune response Unlike the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron.

Nearly 11.5 million Americans have rolled up their sleeves to get a booster since the first shipment in early September. Latest information From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More Americans may follow: Nearly a third of U.S. adults say they’ve already achieved one or want to “as soon as possible.” A Kaiser Family Foundation survey Released on September 30.

Here’s what you need to know about the protection the new boosters offer and where side effects fit into the equation:

The new booster appears to protect you

Pfizer and Moderna’s redesigned shots are bivalent, meaning they are compatible with the original Covid strain and omicron BA.4 and BA.5. All Americans Ages 5 and up They are eligible for one if they have completed their primary vaccination series.

Like previous Covid vaccines, the new boosters are designed to help you fight the virus by triggering an immune response in your body. When you get a vaccine, your immune system recognizes it as something foreign because it is Mimics a covid infection Maldonado says without causing “full-blown illness.”

Your immune system responds by building an arsenal of weapons — including antibodies, memory B cells and T cells — that work together to find the “foreign object” and remember how to prevent it in the future, he adds.

Pfizer Its called clinical trials This was successful in inducing immunity: one week after the injection, participants had higher levels of antibodies against BA.4 and BA.5 in their blood than they did pre-injection. The drugmaker did not specify how high those antibody counts were, but said it expects to release data measuring one month’s post-booster antibody levels “in the coming weeks.”

Such data could better gauge the full protection that Pfizer’s new booster can provide against Omicron’s subvariants. Covid vaccines usually take two to three weeks to fully boost your immune system, which can help your body stop getting an infection or prevent it from progressing to serious disease.

“We know the data isn’t complete, but it’s also reassuring that after seven days you’re already seeing an increase in antibodies,” Maldanado said. “The response is very consistent with what we’ve seen in the past with other vaccines.”

What does it mean if your side effects are more severe than others?

Side Effects – In this case, The now familiar set of muscle aches, fatigue, headaches and more – is a natural part of our immune response to a vaccine, Maldonado said. Clinical trials of an earlier version of the bivalent booster targeting the BA.1 subvariant of omicron found that most participants experienced “mild” side effects, with a much smaller percentage reporting “moderate” or “severe” side effects.

In the real world, severity appears to be “kind of a mixed bag,” Maldonado says: Some people may have worse, similar, or milder experiences than with their previous vaccine doses. “There will be some risk of side effects. For most people, you’re going to experience some, but that doesn’t mean the vaccine isn’t safe or won’t protect you,” she adds.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease professor at UC San Francisco, said he definitely experienced some “adverse side effects” after receiving his updated booster. He noted that he received a flu shot at the same time, and that side effects from both shots are nothing new, suggesting that they may have “combined” to cause a more intense experience for him.

some study Show that the chance of experiencing side effects after receiving both shots at the same time is similar or slightly higher than receiving only one Covid vaccine. So, there’s really no definitive explanation for why your side effects from the new booster are more or less severe than others.

But you should not worry, insists Dr. Helen Chu, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the University of Washington: How well the Covid shot protects you has nothing to do with your side effects. Having mild or moderate side effects doesn’t mean you’re developing a stronger immune system than people with no side effects, he says.

“You’re still going to get a nice boost in your antibody levels, you’re still very protected either way,” Chu says.

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