Speed Reads

the booster discussion

The 'theoretical' downside of COVID boosters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday night authorized the use of COVID-19 booster shots for seniors, at-risk adults, nursing home residents, and — in a decision breaking with its own advisery panel — frontline workers over the age of 18.

However, with much of the world, as well as a percentage of the U.S., still unvaccinated, the booster conversation has left some asking — what are the implications of receiving another dose if you're not in an at-risk population? Are there any?

Any downside is "probably more theoretical," epidemiologist Céline Gounder told The New Yorker. There have been cases of myocarditis, or heart inflammation, in younger men following jabs of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines; however, it is unclear whether there would be increased risk with a third dose — "it is very rare, so it would take a while to pick up on," said Gounder. She noted that instances of myocarditis have not led to permanent complications.

The other pitfall, according to Gounder, would be cost — "both in terms of the vaccine itself, and also in terms of all of the facility and manpower costs of getting people their booster dose."

In terms of beating COVID, however, the epidemiologist added that if we want to get to "the other side of this, you have to start paying attention to people who are not vaccinated — not just here but in the rest of the world." Read more at The New Yorker.