COVID-19 booster vaccines: why do we need them and how effective are they?

Professor Stephen Kent and Dr Jennifer Juno discuss COVID-19 booster vaccines as rollout begins across Australia.

Australia’s COVID-19 booster vaccine rollout is now underway. From November 8, people aged 18 and over who received their second vaccine dose more than six months ago are now elligible for a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine. But why do we need an extra dose?

Professor Kent and Dr Juno, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, co-wrote an article for The Conversation discussing why we need COVID-19 booster vaccines and examining their efficacy.

Professor Kent and Dr Juno explain the evidence from Israel, the U.S. and U.K., of waning immunity, meaning that vaccine effectiveness gradually decreases over time. While the two initial doses of approved vaccines are still likely to protect us from hospitalisation and severe disease six months later, they will be less likely to prevent us from becoming infected at all. This is where booster shots can help, reducing infection and transmission to help us avoid getting infected and prevent further spread of COVID-19.

In their Conversation article, Professor Kent and Dr Juno also raise the ethical concern of wealthy countries embarking on booster vaccine rollouts when many developing countries remain vulnerable with small proportions of their populations vaccinated.

Read the full article here:

The Conversation

University of Melbourne, Find an Expert