After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned to live with the virus in our midst, Moreover, we are now experiencing some liberation here in the Philippines from the very restrictive lifestyle we have had. Some say that is because of the elections. But no, this is mostly thanks to the government’s vaccination efforts and the cooperation of the majority of the citizens to get inoculated against the virus. The continuous wearing of masks has also helped a lot in curbing the spread of infection. Since late last year, the campaign has shifted to the COVID vaccine booster shot. Here are the practical reasons why you need to get it.
What a Vaccine Booster Shots?
There are people who do not believe in COVID vaccines because of the need for booster shots. But booster shots are not new. It is not a concept that was just introduced during the pandemic. Parents who bring their children to their pediatrician for regular checkups know that there are certain vaccines that require two doses. Meanwhile, there are those that require booster shots when the kids are older.
Vaccines keep up safe and protected or even immune to certain diseases caused by bacteria or viruses. However, there are diseases that require more than one dose.
And from what its name suggests, the booster shot* further “boosts” our immunity or protection against the disease, especially after some time has passed. Since we are still in a pandemic, we are yet to know how many booster shots we may need in the light of new viral mutations.
Practical Reasons to Get the COVID Vaccine Booster Shot
In the past, the focus has been to encourage people with practical reasons to get the COVID vaccine. Following the period that has elapsed from the first and second doses, we were advised to get a booster shot.
As vitamins and food supplements need to be taken regularly for us to remain healthy always, we also need vaccine booster shots if we want to stay protected.
Dr. Melvin J. Sanicas, a Filipino vaccinologist based in Switzerland, says, “Although COVID-19 vaccines remain effective in preventing severe disease, recent data suggest their effectiveness at preventing infection or severe illness wanes over time, that’s why we need a booster. One (1) booster shot for everyone who received the initial two (2) doses.”
He also adds that it is not true that COVID-19 is no longer in our midst, just because it is election time. As of April 11, 2022, Dr. Sanicas said that 66% of the population has already received at least two doses, which is the reason why “big cities [like] Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, etc. [now have] a much better situation. [That’s the] concept of herd immunity.”
Prevent viral mutation
If we are vaccinated, we stop the virus from replicating** in the host body. But again, this effect wanes over time, which is why a booster shot is needed. While the mutations cannot be completely stopped, their occurrences get reduced, so prevent yourself from getting infected by the mutated virus.
Dr. Sanicas explains, “Mutations happen and will continue to happen as long as the virus circulates. [However,] SARSCOV2 is no longer a “novel virus”, just like it was in early 2020.”
Learning from experience, it is expected that world leaders want to protect their citizens from another surge of COVID-19 cases. Vaccines are considered another requirement for travel because locals obviously don’t want a visitor to bring the virus into their midst. And there are countries that do not consider booster shots that were not administered within six (6) months after the second dose.***
So if you want to travel, get yourself vaccinated. If you are already done, then get the necessary booster shot. It protects you as well as the people you encounter in other places.
Get the Booster Dose ASAP
Check your vaccination card. When was your second dose? Has the recommended time lapsed already? Then it is best that you get the booster shot as soon as possible.
Moreover, the government is still giving booster doses for free. But these vaccines also have an expiration date that when they do, that will be a total waste of government funds. So better take advantage of this public health benefit that the government is providing for us.
- * Web MD: Jan. 28, 2022; What Are Booster Shots
- ** Henry Ford Health, Sept. 27, 2021 Another Reason to Get Vaccinated
- *** Aljazeera: Jan. 18 2022; UAE: Abu Dhabi makes booster vaccine mandatory for entry
Note: Dr. Melvin J. Sanicas was recently awarded as one of the 2021 The Outstanding Young Men and Women (TOYM), bestowed by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines. He is an internationally recognized Filipino COVID-19 expert and he was recognized for his contribution to Science and Medicine.