BOSTON (CBS) – Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your coronavirus and coronavirus vaccine-related medical questions. If you have a question for Dr. Mallika, email her or message her on Facebook or Twitter.
Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health.
Debbie writes, “I had heard there was a study saying the Moderna vaccine produces more antibodies than Pfizer’s. If I had the Moderna vaccine do I still need to have a booster shot?”
There have been some studies suggesting that the Moderna vaccine might trigger the production of more antibodies against the coronavirus than the Pfizer vaccine, for example. Perhaps because Moderna uses a larger dose or because the two doses were spaced four weeks apart versus three with the Pfizer vaccine. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that one vaccine is more protective than the other, they both probably become less protective over time. So I think boosters will likely be recommended for people who received both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Joanne in Quincy says after her second COVID vaccine she felt tired and her feet were freezing. She asks, “Is it likely that a booster will have the same effect? It won’t stop me from getting it though.”
I think it’s unclear whether you will have the same side effects from a booster shot as you did for your initial doses. For example, some people who experienced “COVID arm” after their first dose of the Moderna vaccine had a milder case after the second dose or didn’t experience it at all. I’m glad that you plan on getting a booster regardless. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.
Ann asks, “If I had breakthrough COVID-19 can I get it again?”
If you had a breakthrough case your body probably produced more antibodies against what was likely the Delta variant, which should provide additional protection against getting infected again in the near future. Does that mean you can’t ever get infected again? Probably not, but we don’t know. Eventually, your immunity will probably start to wane again. Other variants that are able to escape protection from the vaccines or immunity from prior infections may emerge over time. And the coronavirus may continue to return year after year, so we may need to get vaccines every 1 to 3 years down the line to protect ourselves from serious illness.