The COVID-19 booster shot: effectiveness and eligibility


With the COVID-19 booster shots coming out, many wonder if they should get it.

Ori Rosmarin

In the age of COVID-19 regulations and safety precautions, most people know the importance of being as safe as possible. However, even if fully vaccinated, the chance of COVID-19 infection still lurks. Thus, the COVID-19 booster shot offers an additional layer of protection for those fully vaccinated.

While the standard Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have proven to be effective, the protection they provide is expected to wear off any time after three months of vaccination. The booster shot is fully prepared to protect against COVID-19 as well as mutations of the virus, like the Delta Variant.

“I imagine the booster shot will improve COVID infection rates. By increasing our protection rate, we’re doing our part to bring down our infection numbers.” said CHS nurse Dorothy Condon.

Those eligible for the booster shot include people ages 65 and older and those over the age of 18 who either work or live in high risk settings or are affected by underlying medical conditions. High-risk occupations include first responders, education staff, food or agriculture workers, manufacturers, postal service workers, public transit workers and grocery store employees. To be considered high-risk of contraction, you must be at least 65 years old, have underlying medical conditions or live in a long term care setting.

However, those 18 years or older who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for the booster shot two months after their initial vaccination.

In New York City, health officials encouraged all adults who want to receive coronavirus vaccine boosters to seek them out, and asked health providers not to turn them away, a move that comes as federal regulators consider expanding the eligibility pool for Pfizer-BioNTech’s booster.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is awaiting to authorize booster shots for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for all adults. If this decision is made, it will open up eligibility to millions of fully vaccinated adults.

According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clinical trial of more than 15,000 participants, the side effects from both Pfizer and Modern’s shots are similar to those of the second dose of the vaccine. Common symptoms include headache, fatigue, fever, chills and pain surrounding the injected area.

Chemistry teacher Erin Wheeler recently received the COVID-19 booster shot.

“I do feel a little bit safer, but I know it’s still not 100 percent going to be able to protect me,” Wheeler said.

The CDC endorses the booster shot to those who are eligible and highly recommend it to those who are considered high-risk.

COVID-19 experts such as Doctor Anthony Fauci advocate for all those who are eligible to get vaccinated and receive the booster shot in order to protect not only themselves, but their community.

“We’re not living in a vacuum as individuals. We’re living in a society and society needs to be protected,” Fauci said.