Booster Vaccinations: A Q&A with Madison Primary Care


Julia Baugher, Contributor

With controversy in the air surrounding the booster vaccination, it’s difficult to know what’s true and what’s not. Is it safe? Effective? Necessary? Patriot Pages sat down with one of Madison Primary Care’s nurse practitioners: Kelly Baugher. She answered some of our students’ burning questions regarding the second vaccine.

“What is it?”

“A booster shot is an extra dose of a vaccination after an earlier dose (or doses) of a vaccine is received,” said Baugher. “After initial vaccination, a booster dose is typically used to re-expose our bodies to an immunizing antigen. An antigen is what triggers our bodies to develop an immune response. This immune response is ultimately responsible for the development of antibodies. (Antigens can be compromised of many things such as proteins, amino acid chains, or lipids.) After many vaccinations that we receive, antibodies in our bodies may begin to decline with time. Our antibodies are what our bodies use to attack and neutralize foreign invaders like the COVID-19 virus.”

“How long after the vaccine should I get the booster?”

“The most recent CDC recommendation is that people who are elderly or considered high risk receive a booster dose 6 months after completion of their vaccination series. The CDC also advises that patients 18 and over who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine may receive a second shot at least two months after receiving their first vaccination.”

“Why do I need to get it if I already got the vaccine?”

“The reason that it’s important to receive a booster dose after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine series is due to something called waning immunity. We know, through recent evidence-based research, that our protective antibodies against the COVID-19 virus begin to decline with time. A booster dose helps our bodies to increase the level of those protective antibodies in order to attack and neutralize the COVID-19 virus. It’s also important to remember that there are other vaccines that require booster doses, like the tetanus vaccine (boosters are required every 10 years for the TDAP vaccine). When people have questions about which vaccinations or boosters that they may need based on their age or risk factors, they should schedule an appointment with their primary care provider.”

You can read more about the CDC recommendations HERE.