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Your questions answered in NZSL – Booster & Omicron

Why is a booster needed?

So I understand that some people are feeling frustrated that they’ve already had two vaccines and now we’re asking you to also get the booster.

For Omicron the booster is really important, because over time our immunity does wane and so by having the booster it brings it back up again to give your body the best chance to be protected against Omicron.

How effective is the booster dose?

The data is really clear from lots of countries overseas that people who have had that third booster dose are more protected against Omicron than if they don’t have it.

They’re more protected from getting infection, they’re more protected from hospitalisation and they’re more protected from dying from the disease.

Does it still take two weeks to become fully protected?

It is probably going to be at your maximum after two weeks, but because you’ve already got some immunity there from your first two doses the booster shot works much faster at pushing your immunity up.

Is it likely we will need more doses in the future?

Researchers are continuing to look at the COVID-19 virus, but unfortunately it’s like gazing into a crystal ball. Viruses do mutate and so if it becomes obvious that we will need another booster shot, the researchers will find that out for us, make sure they test the vaccines to check for its safety before they recommend it.

How is Omicron different from Delta?

The reason Omicron appears mild is because doctors have got a lot better at treating COVID-19. We now have antivirals available and we have a lot of people who’ve either around the world been infected before, so have some immunity, or have been vaccinated.

This is not a disease that you want to get we should be trying to avoid it.

We definitely see protection if you’ve had that third dose and so it’s really really important that people get it.

What we also know is that because this variant is so infectious, even if there are less hospitalisations there are still relatively more and that’s led to an overwhelming of healthcare systems overseas.

Is the booster the same as previous doses?

So, it’s the same dose, it’s 30 micrograms, same volume.

For those of us that get it again it’ll look pretty much the same as what you remember last time.

Really importantly though, it doesn’t give you any more side effects than your dose two, I know a lot of people have said, oh, am I gonna feel more side effects after a third dose? That gap is quite important in terms of reducing your side effects.

Why is the booster now given 3 months after the second dose?

We need to remember that that dose interval that went from four months to three months has been studied to make sure that it gives you good protection.

So once we see the levels starting to drop down If we can get that booster in there as soon as possible it lifts your protection back up again and that’s why we’ve seen that interval for the booster dose come back to three months.

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