At Revera, most of our residents have received their second booster (fourth dose) of the COVID vaccine. Although we still get outbreaks, the effects on our residents are greatly reduced compared to the first waves a couple of years ago. Still, many Revera employees and family members of residents have reached out to ask me whether now is the right time to get a COVID booster. The answer is ‘YES’ and here are some things to consider:
What if I’ve already had two doses?
If you have only had two doses, it is likely coming up on one year since your second dose. Now is the time to get a third (first booster) dose. Studies have shown that immunity begins to decrease after the second dose and increases after the third dose. A third dose will help restore the protection you received after the second dose.
Will it prevent me from getting COVID?
There is high community transmission right now with a very contagious variant circulating. Unless you are very diligent about hand-hygiene, masking in indoor public spaces, like grocery stores, and maintaining physical distancing, you are likely going to be exposed to COVID. Even if you do all of these things, you may still get COVID because this virus is so powerful and so contagious.
If it won’t protect me from getting COVID, why should I bother?
The most important thing the vaccines do is protect you from severe infection that could result in hospitalization or death. It will also protect you against “long COVID”, which can cause symptoms so severe you may be unable to work or enjoy time with friends and family. Symptoms of long COVID, which can last for months, can include fever, severe fatigue, difficulty breathing, muscle and joint pain, headaches, and difficulty thinking and concentrating. Long COVID is not to be taken lightly and affects everyone differently, so it’s important to be as well-protected as possible.
What if I’ve had a COVID infection already?
There is good evidence now that a booster can enhance the natural immunity that comes with an infection and reduces the likelihood that you will get infected again. You should wait three months after an infection to receive a booster.
Do I need a fourth (second booster) dose?
Currently all Canadians over the age of 18 are eligible to receive a fourth (second booster) dose because the science has determined that vaccines remain our best protection against severe outcomes. If it has been five months since your last dose, now is the time.
There’s a new vaccine coming out in the fall. Should I wait?
The new bivalent vaccine protects against both Delta and Omicron variants, but it likely won’t be available until October or November. If it has been more than 5 months since your third dose (first booster), getting the fourth dose (second booster) may help get you through the summer and fall. If you’re still uncertain, speak to your primary care provider to decide what is best for you.
My number one goal is to keep everyone: our employees and their families, our residents and their families, and the whole country, as safe as possible.
Vaccines are a safe and effective way to achieve protection against COVID’s effects, and I strongly encourage everybody to get their boosters as soon as possible.