Many families have found themselves asking: should our aging loved one get a COVID booster shot?
With so much conflicting information everywhere, it can be hard for caregivers to make an informed decision. The following will get to the core of whether your aging loved one may need a booster or not!
The background on boosters
Last April, the FDA okayed the usage of booster shots for the mRNA vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna. This was done at the behest of data supplied by the vaccine providers. Although the FDA has recommended these boosters, the data is still new. Due to this, the CDC has not recommended a general booster plan. They have stated that it is too soon to move forward with boosters, especially since we are still waiting for a majority of the population to get vaccinated.
Who qualifies for a booster shot?
Despite not recommending boosters for the general population, the CDC has pretty clear recommendations on who SHOULD get a booster vaccine. This is reserved for those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. This is roughly 3% of the US population, amounting to over 900,000 individuals. The following are those that do qualify:
‣ Individuals who have an advanced or untreated infection of HIV
‣ Persons with a moderate to advanced primary immunodeficiency
‣ Individuals who are receiving treatment for blood cancers or tumors
‣ Those who have received an organ transplant and thusly are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
‣ Individuals that are taking immune response suppression drugs such as high dose corticosteroids
‣ Persons who have received a stem cell transplant with the last two years
In essence, if you are immunocompromised, you qualify for a COVID-19 booster shot!
Talk with your primary care doctor
If you are still uncertain if you or your aging loved one needs a booster, reach out to your healthcare network. This can be your registered nurse, or your primary doctor. Talk with them about your loved one’s health history. Is there a medical procedure that falls under the aforementioned guidelines? Are they on any medications that are suppressing their immune response?
Stay prepared for updates
Like all things COVID, the booster debate is an evolving story. This article was written in mid September, and the scientific understanding may have changed by the time you read this. That being said, make sure to keep checking CDC guidelines and stay informed for any updates!