As you may recall, spouse B, daughter T, and I were all participants in the Phase III clinical trial for the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech. We then all participated in a follow-on third dose trial. B and I left the trial this spring because we were eligible to receive a fourth dose and wanted the extra protection before travelling. T stayed in the trial until its end earlier this summer.
Here in the United States, a new booster was recently approved which combines the original formulation with a new one designed to better combat the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. BA.5 is the dominant variant currently in the US, accounting for about 88% of cases. About 11% are caused by BA.4. The new booster is expected to strengthen protection against serious illness/death and, one hopes, cut down on symptomatic infection somewhat, as well.
Given that I am still trying to remain COVID-free and that I have several trips coming this fall, I decided to receive one of the new boosters at my local pharmacy. I chose to receive the Pfizer formulation because all my others have been theirs, although there is a Moderna version which is also a fine choice. This was my first time receiving the vaccine in a pharmacy setting. My prior doses had all been in a medical office or a state vaccination site. I made an appointment online and everything was very fast and efficient.
Dr. Ashish Jha, who is the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the long-time director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have said that it is possible that we may have reached a point where an annual booster will be enough to protect the vast majority of Americans from serious illness/death from COVID, similar to annual flu shots. Some people who are especially vulnerable due to age or medical condition might need more frequent boosters. The wild card, though, would be the emergence of a new strain that could evade our antibodies and current vaccines.
So, my message is to receive one of these new boosters as soon as they become available wherever you are. The US has been first to authorize them, but it seems they will become more widely available globally soon. Remember, though, that these are booster doses given to people who have already completed an initial vaccine series. If you haven’t completed an initial vaccine series, start NOW!
Meanwhile, here in Broome County, our community risk level is still medium. While I wait for the new booster to take full effect, I will still mask for indoor gatherings and shopping. I’ll be evaluating what to do after that, although these boosters are so new that data may be hard to come by.
I hope to stay well and hope that you do, too.
12 thoughts on “COVID bivalent boosters”
We’re getting the variant booster today. Relieved to have that option.
LikeLiked by 1 person
That’s great, J-Dub! Obviously not an iron-clad guarantee from possible infection but it feels good to know you are doing the best you can.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you! We are making our appointments for the invariant booster now.
LikeLiked by 1 person
That’s great, Ellen! Hope availability is good there. It was very easy to get an appointment here and it looks like the administration has good plans to get it across the country quickly, even in very rural areas.
While I’ve willingly taken three COVID-vaccine injections (as well as the annual influenza shots for decades), I nevertheless feel the term ‘science’ generally gets used a bit too readily/frequently, especially for corporate goals. And Pfizer’s spring-time assertion that a fourth-dose mass-consumption of their vaccine is immediately needed induced even less trust/confidence by me in the big business.
As disturbing as it sounds, due to increasingly common privatized research for big-profit aims, even science, and perhaps by extension scientific ‘fact’, has become commercialized. Research results, however flawed, can and are known to be publicly amplified if they favor the corporate product, and accurate research results can be suppressed or ignored if they are unfavorable to business interests, even when involving human health.
Mega-corporation lobbyists — especially those representing the huge and very powerful/influential pharmaceutical industry — largely lead Western nations. Such lobbyist manipulation does not belong in any government body established to protect consumers’ safety and health rather than big businesses’ insatiable profit goals.
For example, Health Canada was established to act in Canadian consumers’ best interests, yet it’s susceptible to corporate lobbyist manipulation. For one thing, it allowed novelty-flavored vaping products to be fully marketed — even on corner stores’ candy counters — without conclusive independent scientific proof that the product, as claimed by the tobacco industry, would not seriously harm consumers but rather help nicotine addicts wean themselves off of the more carcinogenic cigarette means of nicotine deliverance.
A few years before that, Health Canada had sat on its own research results that indicated seatbelts on buses would save lives and reduce injury; it wanted even more proof of safety through seatbelts before ordering big bus manufacturers to install them in every bus.
The term ‘science’ does get used a bit too readily/frequently, and one should be cautious against blindly buying into (what I call) speculative science, in general.
LikeLiked by 1 person
As someone who was in the clinical trial, I am confident that the science was being done properly. I also know other people with expertise in pharmacology and how trials are properly conducted, so I feel comfortable in saying that the scientists were the ones giving accurate data.
Of course, with a new and quickly evolving virus, circumstances change. Pfizer did not say everyone should get a fourth dose. I was able to choose that because of my age/vulnerability.
The data show that the bivalent approach raises immunity so I chose to receive it. The data also show that the vaccines reduce hospitalizations and deaths.
In the US, several companies took government money to fund their research, but Pfizer did not. They used their own resources and contracted with the US and other governments to buy doses. So far, COVID vaccines in the US have not had out-of-pocket costs.
While profit motives do wreak havoc in other ways/circumstances, I believe the COVID vaccine science is sound.
I long ago lost any respect/confidence I’d held for the pharmaceutical industry. …
Morally terrible and humanly/monetarily expensive is that Canadians’ health seems to come second to maximizing profits, in particular those amassed by an increasingly greedy pharmaceutical industry; the same pharmaceutical corporations that intentionally pushed their very addictive and profitable opiates — an ethical and moral crime for which they got off relatively lightly, considering the resulting immense suffering and overdose death numbers.
It’s terrible and expensive when a federal government promises Canadians much-needed universal albeit-generic-brand medication coverage [Throne Speech, Sept.23, 2020] only to have the pharmaceutical industry typically react with successful threats of abandoning their Canada-based R&D (etcetera) if the government goes ahead with its ‘pharmacare’ plan. Why? Because such universal medication coverage would negatively affect the industry’s superfluously plentiful profits. The profits would still be great, just not as great.
A late-2019 Angus Reid study found that, over the previous year, due to medication unaffordability, almost a quarter of Canadians decided against filling a prescription or having one renewed. Not only is medication less affordable, but other research has revealed that many low-income outpatients who cannot afford to fill their prescriptions end up back in the hospital system as a result, therefore costing far more for provincial and federal government health ministries than if the medication had been covered. …
That is indeed morally terrible and humanly/monetarily expensive. It also reeks of heavy lobbyist manipulation — something that should never prevail over matters of significant national and human security and health.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I am not familiar with the interior workings of the Canadian system. The US doesn’t even really have a national system and affordability of medications is a huge problem. Lobbying and campaign contributions have a lot to do with it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The virus is the toxicosis, the poisoning of the body, primarily due to metabolism of food added to by the very great many toxins in the environment. Adding to the toxins by taking vaccines which, if they contain anything at all other than saline will be neuro-toxic. I have checked the listed ingredients and apart from the one they won’t tell you about, they are either bulk/carriers or neuro-toxic.
They make large amounts of money for big pharma but will do nothing for health. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Please don’t play Russian roulette with your body, it is not worth it. I have friend who took the booster in the UK, a healthy man in his 30’s I believe (I haven’t asked his age).
He suffered paralysis in his arm where the shot was given and it took 3-4 months before it came back to full use.
You should look at boosting your vitamin D etc. and your diet generally and avoid big pharma drugs as far as possible as most are neuro-toxic and will harm you.
I respectfully disagree. Because I was in the clinical trial, I have kept up with the data and science and seen the evidence that the COVID vaccines greatly reduce hospitalizations and deaths from the virus with very low incidence of serious side effects. The US has lost over a million people to this virus, the majority of whom were unvaccinated. The data show that any possible danger from the vaccine is far outweighed by the dangers of the disease itself.
I do take vitamin D and eat well to protect my health as much as I can but viruses don’t discriminate. They evolve to infect as many hosts as possible.
Thank you for your reply. However, the viruses do not mutate, we have been led to believe it but this is a lie. Deaths in the US are about 3,000,000 each year, so over a million to the virus as you call it over 2.5 years is not that significant statistically compared to other issues. You must get a sense of perspective.
The government agencies are subverted by big pharma who wish to sell their wares regardless of the cost to humanity.
The data is manipulated to support big pharma sales, and this has always been the case.
A friend of my wife and I had a booster which caused his vaccinated arm to become paralysed for 3-4 months and which has only recently recovered. This is what vaccines do if they are not just saline as a placebo.
You have said on your site about the side effects you have had. This is what vaccines do, but nothing else. Your misplaced faith in the vaccines amounts to a denial of the truth, and there is no evidence to support vaccines doing anything, merely big pharma advertising via the subverted CDC and medical profession.
The virus is as I have set out in my earlier comment. Therefore you are not at risk unless you poison yourself by allowing yourself to be injected or take big pharma products or eat unsuitable food or tainted water. Air quality is a factor too of course.
I myself have a facial palsy because I ate bacon which was treated with sodium nitrite (E250) and which is neuro-toxic. I was unaware of E250’s effects until I worked it out, no thanks to the NHS here in the UK.
The same effects are evident from the vaccines, although each person’s immune system is different.
I can only warn you, but if you encourage others also you will be putting them at risk and you will have to live with that on your conscience.
You are welcome to your beliefs but I will continue to stand by the scientific evidence. Viruses do indeed exist and mutate. They can be seen by microscope and sequenced genetically. Vaccines have been used for many decades now to prevent infection or lessen the severity of symptoms. It’s why you don’t hear about people dying of small pox any more.
I have numerous friends and family members who are medical professionals and who would be able to give more in-depth explanations of immunology than I can but I am conversant enough with biology to attest to the basic science behind viruses and vaccines and to relate the facts about vaccine safety and efficacy. I am very comfortable continuing to advocate for vaccine use and, indeed, would feel guilty if I did not help educate people on steps to help protect their health.
The number of deaths from COVID-19 has been devastating. “From March 2020 to October 2021, heart disease (20.1%), cancer (17.5%), COVID-19 (12.2%), accidents (6.2%), and stroke (4.7%) were the most common causes of death in the US. There were 2.875 million deaths in March to December 2020 and 2.855 million deaths in January to October 2021; the 5 leading causes of death were the same in each year. Among those older than 1 year, the number of deaths increased across age groups.” quote from this study: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2794043# COVID was also sometimes a complicating factor in deaths due to heart disease, stroke, respiratory conditions, etc. Life expectancy in the US has dropped from 79 years in 2019 to 76.1 years in 2021, due to the effects of COVID-19. You may consider this insignificant, but it has great significance to me.
I realize that you have a very different viewpoint than I do on these issues but I want to explain myself to others who are reading this post and comments. I try to give data and sources to further elucidate my perspective. I do offer peer-reviewed science and public health data, the vast majority of which is funded by public sources and foundations, not pharmaceutical companies.
I will close by sharing my best wishes for good health for each person in every land.