Breaking down what a ‘third dose’ of COVID-19 vaccine means

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 5:51 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - United States health officials will likely recommend a third dose eight months after a second, according to the Associated Press. UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof broke down what this all means.

“I think that it’s safe and I think it’s effective in boosting those antibody levels,” Pothof said.

Pothof said if approved, the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is exactly the same as the second.

“Basically, the immune system is retraining an army,” Pothof said. “Over time, it [thinks] ‘I haven’t seen COVID-19 in a long time, maybe we should start sending some of these soldiers home,’ you give it another dose of this vaccine and your body says, ‘whoa there it is, we need to be ready to go.’”

Vaccinated Madison resident Denise Trinadad said for her, getting a third dose recommended by health officials is a no-brainer.

“As soon as that gets approved, I’m running,” Trinidad said. “Because I know by me taking both of those shots, I’m protected, and everyone else around me is protected as long as they’ve got that shot.”

Other residents who did not wish to speak on the record shared their concerns about safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and its boosters; referencing none of the vaccines have received official FDA authorization yet. Pothof said full FDA approval of Pfizer’s vaccine is highly likely in the coming weeks, and the focus of the third dose is to increase antibodies.

“That helps us because with the Delta variant we see so much more virus coming from infected individual, so have more soldiers, neutralizing antibodies is helpful in preventing infection,” said Pothof.

The recommendation for a booster could come within a few weeks in the US. Recently, health officials recommended a COVID-19 booster for immune compromised people.

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