Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health
Jan wants to know, “Should I get the booster if I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and came down with COVID afterward? I’m 73 years old.”
Right now, it is not advised that you mix and match vaccines. We’re waiting to hear more information about J&J boosters and whether you should get another J&J shot or whether you would benefit from getting a dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. In the meantime, having had a coronavirus infection has probably provided a natural boost in your immunity against the coronavirus, so hopefully you won’t get infected again while you wait on news about boosters. But, continue to take precautions to protect yourself.
Trudy has a breakthrough infection and wonders, “Is it possible I can get a breakthrough infection again?”
Theoretically, yes. But if you are not immunocompromised and you had a recent breakthrough infection, chances are you experienced a “natural” boost in your defenses against the coronavirus, which would protect you against another infection, at least for the next few months. If you’re over 65 and have underlying medical conditions, however, you should discuss whether you need a booster shot with your primary care physician and if so, when.
Zonda asks, “How long is it wise to go without anti-inflammatories for headaches before getting a booster shot?”
If you take anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or naproxen on a regular basis, you do not need to stop taking the medication before getting a booster. It’s not recommended that you “premedicate” with pain relievers before getting a vaccine in an attempt to minimize side effects, but if you need them regularly for underlying conditions, you can go ahead and take them as usual.
Mr. Xu writes, “My wife and I are planning to have a trip next spring. We wonder if we take the booster shot right now, we probably will have a safe winter, however, the immunity probably will be waned again next spring. Should we wait to have a booster shot just before I am going to travel next spring?”
If you’re eligible for a Pfizer booster, I would go ahead and get it. We don’t know how long the added protection from a booster will last but there is a chance it will last longer than that with the first two shots. I would focus on protecting yourself now as we head into winter when cases are likely to rise, rather than worrying about travel in the spring. By then we should have more information on the effectiveness of the boosters and any new variants. And don’t forget to get your annual flu shot now.