Local doctor weighs in on why 3rd COVID-19 vaccine shot is necessary

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO — With reports that U.S. health officials are expected to recommend all Americans — regardless of age — receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, local medical experts are explaining what the public should expect from the booster shots.

Dr. Jyotu Sandhu, of Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Center, says because of the virus mutations and pushback from the unvaccinated, the chase is on for variants.

“If we had this virus under control from the get-go — with the vaccines that we all should’ve taken once we were eligible for it — we could’ve squashed COVID and not have to worry about boosters for years to come,” said Dr. Jyotu Sandhu, of Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Center.

While county officials are attempting to get some people in San Diego County their first shot, doctors are now recommending the immunocompromised to get their third shot.

“We’re all going to need to have boosters to keep those antibody levels up,” Sandhu said. “The people who are most at risk for decreased antibody levels are people with compromised immune systems, because they never had the ability, or a lot of them had an insufficient response the first time around, with the initial vaccinations.”

The move is being driven by both the highly contagious variant and preliminary evidence that the vaccine’s protective effect starts dropping within months. Researchers say after eight months, the vaccines may start to lose some of their potency, and that’s why experts are advising a third shot. They also say for those who received a Pfizer shot, should get a Pfizer booster while Moderna recipients should get the Moderna booster.

The immunocompromised may now get a third shot at a local pharmacy, such as CVS or Walgreens, as long as they have a doctor’s note.

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