What’s the difference between a third dose and a booster of the COVID-19 vaccine?


COLUMBUS (WCMH) – All of the discussion about third doses and booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine has a lot of people wondering what’s the difference and which one am I supposed to get?

Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts emphasized that there is a difference. The third dose is for people who are immune-compromised, while the booster shot is for everyone else.

As of now, the third dose is available for those who need it.

“The third dose is really to give people who have a compromised immune system the extra protection and antibodies they need to get on the same level as people who aren’t immune-compromised,” Roberts said.

Though not yet available, the booster shot is needed because the effectiveness of the first two doses, either Moderna or Pfizer, diminishes over time.

“The booster is to give us an extra boost to particularly help us with what we call waning immunity,” Roberts said.

Roberts said the composition of the vaccines should remain the same across the board.

“For the third dose, it’s the same dose,” she said. “We haven’t gotten the full guidance from the booster, but from what I understand, it should be the same dose.”

Roberts said she expects the booster shot to be made available by Sept. 20, but first, it has to be approved by the FDA and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Roberts recommends that people stick with the same vaccine they received originally. As far as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, there is still more research that needs to be done.

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