COVID booster overview: Where and when should you get the shot?

Sam Berns, Reporter

Experts expect there to be a new wave in COVID-19 cases this upcoming winter. Cases are rising in Europe which has typically been a sign that cases will rise in the United States. The new COVID-19 booster shot offers the latest protection and could help prevent hospitalizations and illness.  

Although the risks of COVID-19 have significantly decreased in the past two years, it is still very important to get the latest booster shot. The shot will help protect people at high risk from hospitalization and could hasten a return to normalcy. 

Enrique Schisterman, an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Health (NIH), strongly encourages the new booster shot even for students who are not at high risk for COVID-19. Schisterman also was a member of the COVID-19 medical advisory committee at CESJDS.

“The COVID vaccine booster is important for everyone, especially the vulnerable. Older people should definitely get it. People who have immunocompromised issues should get it and people who are around immunocompromised people should get it. Those are the priorities,” Schisterman said. “It doesn’t mean that others should not get it but is it not as urgent as it is for high-risk individuals. Overall, I think everyone should get it but the priority should go to people at high risk.”

The booster shot is available to those of all ages and accessible locally. The easiest way to get it is to contact a local doctor, call local pharmacies or schedule an appointment online. Most local CVS and Walgreens pharmacies will provide the shots.

Upper school nurse Jillian Pedone strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to get the new booster shot. Although the number of Covid cases is down, there could still be Covid outbreaks. The new booster significantly reduces the risks if an outbreak occurs. 

“It’s giving us another layer of protection,” Pedone said. “This does not make us immune to getting COVID but similar to the flu shot it means that there is more protection so if we were to get covid we would not be as sick and certainly not in a position where we would have to be hospitalized.” 

However, the booster shot may come with some side effects. Similarly to previous vaccines, the booster shot may cause some fatigue and soreness in your injected arm. According to Pedone, it could also cause “tiredness and headaches.” Pedone encourages students, faculty and staff to consult their local doctors if they have any questions about the vaccine and its side effects. 

Senior Aiden Melkin plans to use this opportunity to get the new covid booster shot soon.

”I think we are all tired of COVID and this new booster shot gives us the opportunity to really move on and provides us with further protection. I am grateful that such a vaccine could have been made accessible so quickly and hope that other students will get it,” Melkin said.   

According to the Washington Post, research conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, an independent research group, predicts that more than 75,000 people could die if not enough people get the booster shot. 

Schisterman is hopeful that many students and staff will get the new booster shot in order to make CESJDS as safe as possible.

“A spike in cases at this point is not completely related to vaccination. What we can get the vaccine today does not protect against getting covid. It protects from getting serious [cases of] COVID. You can still have a spike in COVID cases but cases will not be serious cases,” Schisterman said.