New COVID Booster! You Should Get It!

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Dan Maurer, writer

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been going on for over two years now.  The worst is passed, and the danger is certainly winding down: masks are no longer mandated in most aspects of public life, container trailers are no longer being used as makeshift morgues, the CDC reports that 67 percent of the US population has received two doses of vaccine, and high-capacity entertainment events have been in full swing all summer long. In July, the BBC published a piece questioning whether the virus is now moving into an endemic stage, constantly present like the flu or the common cold. 

Why then, might people ask, do we really need to take a new, updated COVID vaccine?  Isn’t this thing over yet? Should I subject myself to another vaccine that may lay me out for a day or more?  Sadly, the COVID-19 virus does mutate quickly. Over the past two years, we’ve heard plenty about new variants that have caused multiple waves of infections. The Delta and Omicron variants caused surges in deaths and infections across the world and throughout our communities. The Omicron variant itself is now the dominant one in the nation and continues to mutate, with subvariant strains continuing to evolve and spread. So far, we’ve been able to avoid another massive wave of infection, but that is not guaranteed as the virus continues to mutate, causing the effectiveness of the previous vaccines to wane.

The new Omicron specific, or bivalent, vaccine that is currently being rolled out will boost immunity and resistance against the most recent strains of the Omicron variant for everyone at risk of contracting COVID-19. This will help to lower the spread, and thus, the rate of mutation of the virus as a whole. It should be noted that the vaccine has not been through human trials. Due to the extensive experience we now have with mRNA vaccines, and successful animal trials, the CDC is confident the new booster will be safe. The release is being expedited otherwise the virus would mutate again and we would never catch up. However, this is the same concept we use for flu vaccines. Human clinical trials would take too long for the vaccine to be effective anymore. We know how to make safe flu vaccines. Now, we know how to make safe COVID vaccines, as well.

The CDC does recommend the new booster, claiming that it will better protect against the current Omicron strains. I am apt to agree with them. I think there’s really no reason not to get the new booster, especially if you are more at risk than others for a severe infection. Previous boosters have been proven safe, and any additional protection against this virus that could curtail its spread, and thus mutation, is a benefit, especially since it is free to recipients. Previous contracts with pharmaceutical companies have seen the government purchasing COVID vaccines at $19.50 per dose.

Keeping this virus from mutating into something dangerous and lethal is of utmost importance, and vaccines are the most effective weapon we have that will allow us to beat the virus while maintaining a normal flow of life. No one wants to go back into lockdown, and while masking and avoiding crowds helps keep spread down, the vaccines are the best thing we have to prevent severe infections that may require hospitalization. It’s good for you, and it’s good for everyone around you, all of us, if as many of us are vaccinated as possible.