Covid booster shots, news and opinion

Good news for those of us who got the Moderna vaccine:

Research published on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against hospitalization fell from 91 percent to 77 percent after a four-month period following the second shot. The Moderna vaccine showed no decline over the same period.

IIRC Moderna reports more breakthroughs starting at around the 6 month mark. They’ve been advocating boosters just like Pfizer, with the delta variant probably being the main factor. I got my Moderna shot about 6 months ago, so I’ll be more vigilant going forward.

I’ve got a couple more months before the six-month mark. I’ll get the Moderna booster as soon as I’m eligible. My wife got the J&J six months ago. She’ll get the booster when it’s approved.

SpikeVax (aka Moderna) here. My very mild breakthrough case came 4 months after full vaccination, but you have to remember that I was sleeping with the enemy at the time. I am quite sure that I wouldn’t have gotten infected otherwise.

(My anti-vax, idiot husband brought Delta home and gave it to me. He also brought home the original COVID two months after my second shot, but my vaccination fully protected me from that. He’s fully vaxxed now, he didn’t want me to buy another Covid Cat.)

So, there is now an emergency use authorization for Pfizer boosters from the FDA, for certain groups. The CDC has signed off on making the shots available to the groups it was recommended for.

Some articles have pointed out that the CDC decision is advisory, but it tends to be followed.

In Oregon (and other western states), there is now a decision from the advisory board that the state relies on to set the official policy. Explanation here:

So I think that’s the last hurdle.

Now I’d like to know what the optimum timing of the booster dose is. It will be available at six months, but is 8 months optimal? I favored Pfizer because it was quicker under their protocol to get fully vaccinated. That turned out to be at the cost of lasting protection. I don’t want to make the same mistake again.

Honestly, i don’t think anyone will know for sure for another several months.

But if you look at schedules for other vaccines that require three shots for standard initial vaccination:

Hep B recommends 4 weeks between doses 1 and 2, and another 12 weeks for dose 3.

Polio recommends 4 weeks between doses 1 and 2, and another 6 months for dose 3.

DPT (if not started when really young) recommends 4 weeks between doses 1 and 2, and another 6 months for dose 3.

Or branching out, hep A is 6 months between two doses, and DPT is four doses,

So six months seems like a reasonable interval.

I found an Atlantic article that says it’s probably optimal somewhere between six and eight months and possibly up to a year, and there are good reasons to wait in order to get peak protection. Also there could be variant-specific boosters coming. All else being equal, if we decide to travel for Christmas I might get it a few weeks before that, which would put me right in the middle, at 7 months.

This is why I’m unbothered that I won’t hit eight months until the final days of January. Maybe by then I’ll know if there’s a variant specific booster coming along shortly.

My doctor’s office thinks so. I don’t know what information they’re basing that on, though.

I’m just about exactly six months from my second shot. One day over.

I’ve been advised that healthcare workers on the Pfizer series can/should get the booster shot. Apparently (?) the FDA authorized the booster for healthcare workers. Independently the CDC advisory group apparently (?) didn’t want to recommend the booster for healthcare workers, but was overriden by Director Walensky.

ETA: And, cites.

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose, to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series in:

  • […]
  • individuals 18 through 64 years of age whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19.[…]

Today, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in certain populations and also recommended a booster dose for those in high risk occupational and institutional settings. […]

CDC recommends:

  • […]
  • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.


Well, I signed up for one. I had my 2nd Pfizer shot Feb 5th. I’ve got some health conditions that put me at risk, and I am a teacher, which is on the “high risk job” list. It seems like kids 6-12 could get approved soon, and once that happens, Pfizer may be hard to find

My Dad and I got our boosters at CVS. He’s 85 and I teach plague rats, er, college students. I wasn’t sure if college counts but scheduled anyway. No one asked me any questions.

What is the latest on a Moderna booster?

The NY Times said a few days ago that the advisory committee would be meeting Oct 14-16 and a few days later expect to read their recommendation.

Only for those with compromised immune systems right now. CDC link.

The FDA might end up recommending a 1/2 dose 3rd shot for Moderna.

Here’s the article.

…… The F.D.A. typically issues its decisions within a few days of advisory committee meetings, during which members discuss safety and efficacy data. The timing of the upcoming meetings indicates that the agency intends to move quickly to decide whether to authorize both the booster and children’s shots.

……The committee will meet on Oct. 14 and 15 to discuss booster doses, and is tentatively scheduled to discuss Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine on Oct. 26, the agency said.

They couldn’t switch these meeting dates up?

I think they will still be working their way through the pediatric submission then.

It sorta works for me, because my 6 month date is the 14th. In before a pediatric approval potentially hits supply as per MandaJo above. A bit selfish maybe, yes…but…well…I guess I’ve got nothing to qualify that sentiment.

Just got my Moderna booster yesterday. I’m part of the trial; I got my shots in September and October of last year, and now they’re offering a half-dose booster to all study participants (but allowing those who decline to remain in the study.) My reaction has been similar to the first shot, maybe a tiny bit milder–just a sore arm, no flu-like symptoms like I got with the second shot. If they’d given me a tetanus booster instead, I think I’d feel about the same.

My 70-year-old parents also got the Moderna vaccine as soon as it was available to them, and are now wondering if they should pretend to be immunocompromised to get a third (full) dose ASAP, or wait until the (half-dose) booster is available. I understand here in SoCal the former is pretty easy to get at most pharmacies. I know a couple of older adults who I’m pretty sure aren’t actually immunocompromised who are open about having gotten it. I don’t judge them. I think those doses would otherwise be wasted.