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What this health expert wants you to know about COVID-19 booster shots

Aug. 05, 2021
3 min read
Doctor writing COVID-19 vaccination record card after vaccination on patient.
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The delta variant, first discovered in India, is quickly becoming the world’s dominant strain and has been traced to a worrying surge in positive cases around the globe. In recent days, vaccination and mask mandates have been strengthened in places like New York and Los Angeles County.

The highly transmissible delta variant has people wondering: "Will I need a COVID-19 booster shot?"

But health professionals say while more data is needed to determine whether a booster shot might be needed, the COVID-19 vaccines are effective against preventing serious illness or death.

To find out more about whether a COVID-19 booster shot might be needed in the future, TPG spoke with Dr. Jenny Yu, the senior manager of medical integrity at Healthline Media (which is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures), through email.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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There's been discussion about a possible COVID-19 booster shot. What is a booster shot, and what other vaccines use boosters?

Boosters are either the same or smaller dosage of the original vaccines to re-stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. Chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) are other vaccine examples that have boosters as well.

Pfizer said its COVID-19 vaccine becomes somewhat less effective over time and suggested that a booster shot may be needed in the future. Do scientists and infectious disease experts agree?

Yes, current studies are underway to understand the longevity of the initial vaccines.

Even without a booster shot, how effective are the coronavirus vaccines against serious illness and death?

The mRNA technology vaccines are highly effective against the more transmissible delta variant in terms of preventing serious illness and death. U.K. data for Pfizer is 96% and Canadian data for Moderna is 96%.

Would a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot protect against the highly transmissible delta variant?

That still needs to be determined. Most who have had the 2-shot series are not going to require hospitalization or have severe disease, logically, a booster shot would help with the longevity of the immunity.

Will people be able to get a booster shot that's different from the original vaccine they received?

[That is] unknown as of now, and would require further studies and research.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023