Local doctors believe COVID-19 booster shots will be useful as variants emerge

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Pfizer said people who receive a vaccine will likely need a COVID-19 booster shot within a year and every year after that.

“It is possible over time for the immunity to begin to wane and not be as strong as it was when you were initially vaccinated,” said Dr. Hartman with UW Health.

Dr. Hartman said boosters will be useful over time as more COVID-19 variants emerge.

“You’ll have an overwhelming amount of antibodies, it doesn’t matter which variant you get, you’ll be able to attack it, just because of sheer amount of antibodies that you have,” Dr. Hartman said.

He said to expect booster shots from other makers too, not just Pfizer. However, Dr. Hartman didn’t know if it would be possible for people to mix which brands they get or if they have to get the same one each time.

“I can’t speak to that completely, because we don’t exactly know especially in the U.S.,” said Dr. Hartman. “What we do know that in Europe they have done quite a bit with mixing and matching vaccines, and so far the haven’t seen problems arise from that.”

Several health departments NBC15 reached out to on the booster shots said they had “no comment” on this topic at the time, and the Department of Health Services said it is “premature” to talk about boosters.

Dane County and Juneau County officials said they would need more information, and Iowa County health officer Debbie Siegenthaler said she would follow state and federal guidance.

“I would add that this is not surprising news that a booster dose may be necessary,” wrote Siegenthaler.

The Pfizer CEO said people would likely need a booster shot six to 12 months after being fully vaccinated. Moderna also came out this week saying it hopes to have a booster shot ready by the fall.

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