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Why getting a COVID-19 booster should be a priority | Wear The Gown

Boosters are showing long-lasting immunity as time progresses.

SAN ANTONIO — The Wonderland Mall vaccination center will officially close this Friday after giving out more than half-a-million shots. However, we're looking at the importance of boosters and why following up, and getting them, should be a priority.

As time goes on, more studies are showing that boosters promise long-term protection from COVID-19 variants, and possibly future variants too. That's why getting your booster and being fully vaccinated is so important. 

"It helps sort of remind our immune system of the pathogen we're trying to protect against, and that does often stimulate more antibodies. But it also, I think, helps our immune system work better," said Dr. Bryan Alsip who is the Chief Medical Officer for University Health. 

He says getting that booster, which would mean you are fully vaccinated, is the best way to fight off the virus. He told us, "The most important thing about the vaccinations is that we know they're very good at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death."  

75% of eligible people in Bexar County have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. But, less than 35% of those people have gotten a booster, which is very much needed to keep your immunity high. 

Dr. Alsip added, "There are certainly breakthrough infections, but we know that that booster is really a very important part of extending the duration of that immunity, and also making sure that it's more effective."  

New CDC guidance reflects the length of immunity one receives from a COVID-19 vaccine and/or booster. 

Dr. Alsip said, "The CDC recently updated some of their guidance regarding the intervals between doses of two dose series of an mRNA vaccine for COVID. And for the most part, most people could probably extend the duration between the first and your second dose from rather than three weeks with Pfizer, or four weeks for Moderna, up to about eight weeks before you get that second dose. What the CDC is indicating in that data... leads to a better response and probably something that might make the vaccine last longer. They do say for certain populations, they might want to consider continuing with the shorter interval. Individuals who have moderate to severe or immunocompromised, or those who are at higher risk because of an age level greater than 65 years of age, or other potential risk factors that would prompt you to need to have that second dose earlier. But I think that supports what we know about vaccines that you really shouldn't get a vaccine earlier than recommended, but you can always get a vaccine later than recommended. And sometimes when you get that later dose, it confers immunity that's longer lasting."

Because measuring natural immunity from a COVID infection is extremely hard to do, immunity from the vaccines and boosters is of the utmost importance. 

Dr. Alsip said, "It's harder to rely on natural infection as your sole source of protection, and we certainly don't know how long it lasts. So that's why we recommend, even if you have had COVID, to get immunized and be up to date with those vaccines."  

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