With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, people who are eligible for an updated Covid-19 vaccine booster but still haven’t received the shot will need to roll up their sleeves Thursday to get as much protection as possible before the holiday.
Health officials are worried about a possible surge in respiratory illnesses this winter – including Covid-19, flu, RSV and rhinoviruses – and they are urging people who are not up-to-date on their Covid-19 shots to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“The way it makes protection is to create these proteins, which we call antibodies, that then circulate in the bloodstream. Well, that can’t be done with a snap of the finger. There’s a biological process that takes place,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
After getting the updated Covid-19 vaccine, that biological process can take about 10 to 14 days.
“So it starts right away, and gradually you get more and more of these antibodies into your bloodstream until, by about two weeks, you’re close to having a maximum,” Schaffner said. “The booster actually functions as a booster: You get an increase in antibody that’s faster than if you started from scratch.”
The rollout of the updated boosters has been sluggish, and there’s some urgency to building protection before gathering with family and friends for the holidays – the first festive season of the pandemic since most prevention measures, including masks and social distancing, largely became things of the past.
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