With the rate of COVID-19 cases and related deaths continuing to slow, there could be a collective sense of hope among the public that Thanksgiving 2021 will see a return to large gatherings without fear of infecting, or being infected by, loved ones. While the U.S. is currently in a healthier situation than it was a year ago, assuming the danger of the pandemic has passed would be both premature and dangerous. Rather, it’s time to both continue recommending that unvaccinated people acquiesce to getting a shot and offering booster shots to those who were vaccinated some months ago. New data published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report remind us that vaccination offers five times the level of protection afforded to unvaccinated people who got and recovered from COVID-19. However, it’s also important to note that protection after receiving the vaccine starts to wane within 5 months after vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a booster shot for anyone 18 years of age and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two or more months ago. Patients who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are eligible for a booster 6 months or more after their last shot if they fit into one of the following categories:

  • 65 years of age and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions

Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings

COVID-19 Cases Are Waning—but So Is Vaccine Immunity. It’s Time to Stress Booster Shots
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