The Science Behind the COVID-19 Booster Vaccine


Booster shot developed for the COVID-19 Vaccination

All eligible US citizens, including Dublin High School students, will be able to receive the COVID-19 booster shot manufactured by Pfizer or Moderna. With the date set on September 20th, the shot will work to provide extra immunity, especially against the emergence of the Delta variant. While 98% of Dublin High students are partially vaccinated, there has been much confusion about the science and true purpose behind the booster shot.

One common misconception is that the booster shot is an entirely new vaccination approved by the CDC. However, the COVID-19 booster shot is the same vaccination that everyone had already been advised to receive a few months prior, and it simply works to boost the vaccine’s effectiveness. 

But how exactly does receiving the same vaccine provide extra immunity?

To begin, antibodies are blood proteins created in response to antigens, which are toxic or foreign substances in the body. The vaccine administered imitates the targeted infection, in this case, the COVID-19 virus, causing the immune system to develop antibodies in response that work against the infection. The body produces a spike in antibodies to protect against the disease; however, this number does not stay constant.

As time passes, the number of antibodies begin to wear off; which is why there were two vaccinations for the Pfizer shot set apart by two weeks. The second vaccination is the exact same shot as the initial one and simply worked to boost antibodies to a satisfactory level. In the same way, as months pass since the initial vaccination, the number of antibodies begins to dwindle – hence why the booster shot is necessary to boost antibodies.

However, many are questioning if the booster shot is necessary due to misconceptions. According to a Gallup poll, nearly a quarter of Americans are unwilling to get vaccinated.

“I never expected we would need a booster shot for the Covid vaccine,” mentioned Satviki Chaturvedi, “but if it’s for my health, I am willing to receive it, especially with the Delta variant.” 

While a booster shot may seem abrupt or even useless, it is important to boost the number of antibodies within our bodies to strengthen our immune system. Especially as people jump back into the pre-covid rhythm with in-person school and no social distancing mandate, it is important to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Reducing the stigma surrounding the vaccine through education is one of the first steps to transition into a post-COVID world.