STAT NEWS – Additional doses of Covid-19 vaccines are likely rolling out in the United States later this year. It raises the question:
What will the side effects from a booster shot look like? Is there a higher or lower risk of an adverse event, compared to the earlier regimens?
Overall, the Covid-19 vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and remarkably effective.
But as the shots went into millions of arms starting late last year, researchers uncovered a handful of sometimes serious side effects, which were so exceedingly rare that the clinical trials that led to the shots’ authorizations — even with tens of thousands of participants — couldn’t capture them.
Researchers don’t fully understand the root causes of some of the side effects, but they’ve also reported that the risk of some of them, including certain heart and blood clotting issues, is much higher after a Covid-19 infection itself than after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine.
“[Dr. Anthony Fauci] stressed the importance of COVID-19 booster shots Tuesday after a report this week questioned their use. Booster shots are a crucial part of the effort to halt the coronavirus surge because immunity is waning across all age groups, [he] told MSNBC.” – USA TODAY, Sep 14, 2021
STAT asked experts what the landscape of adverse events might look like following another dose, and they stressed that they were speculating.
Because the additional doses haven’t gone into many arms yet, the amount of data is limited, so it’s impossible to forecast what will happen.
(Whether boosters are necessary from a protection standpoint is another issue. Many experts argue there is not evidence to support adults broadly needing boosters, though certain groups of people, like those with compromised immune systems, do.)
“We’re reading the tea leaves,” said Mark Slifka of Oregon Health and Science University, an expert on immunology, viruses, and vaccines.
Better answers could arrive soon. Israel and some European countries are ahead of the United States in their version of booster plans.
A study looking at the early days of Israel’s booster campaign, giving another dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to people 60 or older, did not appear to turn up any new safety concerns … READ MORE.