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Double Vaxxed, Double Boosted

If you’re wondering if people are actually getting a second COVID booster, well, hello, I’m people, and I just got my second booster shot. Why did I get my second booster shot? Let me count off some reasons:

1. COVID is still out there! And still infecting people! And still killing people, alas; this is not an abstraction to me as it has very recently claimed people I loved. I’m inclined to continue to take it seriously.

2. Plus there are new variants going around, against which it doesn’t hurt to have an additional boost.

3. Also, I live in a county where, still, less than 40% of people have had their first shot of the COVID vaccine, much less the full regimen including that first booster, so I’m inclined to believe a second booster would be prudent.

4. Additionally, I’m traveling more or less on a pre-COVID schedule now, with the recent tour and further festival/convention appearances. This means exposure to a hell of a lot of people in airports, hotels and at events, and that many more chances to be exposed. Boosting my immune response to the virus is useful given how many people I’ve seen and will be seeing.

5. An obnoxious cold that plagued me on the second half of my book tour reminded me that no matter how otherwise healthy I am, I am still well capable of catching a virus and having it fuck with me. The cold just made me phlegmy. COVID could incapacitate or kill me. So, uh, yeah.

6. Finally, I’m over 50 and while I feel fine and healthy and have no obvious comorbidities, there’s still a higher risk for people my age than not. Simple statistics suggested going ahead and getting that second booster.

Now, with all of that said: I strongly suspect that, at this point, if I do contract COVID, it’ll likely present itself as something like a bad cold than something that puts me in the hospital, or requires something like a respirator, or puts me in the ground. Again, the statistics are on my vaxxed-and-boosted side here. But then, that’s because I am vaxxed and boosted, not just because I feel lucky. It’s also possible that this second booster will end up having less efficacy than the initial booster; that’s fine. For me, a modest boost to my ability to swat back COVID is still better than not.

Naturally, I encourage everyone to get a full vaccine regimen, including at least a single booster, if not for themselves then for the people they may know who are more susceptible to to the virus and/or can’t get the shot for reasons better than “I don’t want to and you can’t make me get it and it’s all a government conspiracy anyway.” But, to be blunt about it, at this point, aside from the relative few who legitimately cannot take the vaccine, the country now falls into two groups, the vaccinated, and the damned fools. The damned fools are unreachable at this late date, so I will leave them to their karma. All the more reason, however, for me to get that second booster. It’s not like the damned fools want it. I might as well have it.

Would I get an additional booster from here? Probably, if it made sense to — for example, if a new strain of COVID not well covered by the current crop of vaccines/boosters pops up and a new booster addresses it. In this it would be like getting a flu shot (which, of course, I also got this year). I do understand there is a relatively minor concern that too many shots will mess with the body’s ability to develop an antibody “memory” or some such, but then, I’m not planning to get a new shot every month. I suspect I and my immune system would be fine.

And at this point, I think I will be fine in general, too. Double vaxxed, double boosted: As covered as I can get, and ready to be in the world. It’s nice to worry less. And all it took was a half-hour out of my day.

— JS

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

49 replies on “Double Vaxxed, Double Boosted”

I have a friend who lost his father and whose kids lost their grandfather to COVID because said relative was an anti-vaxxer, so thank you for doing this for your friends and family.

I am double vaxed and single boosted, and I caught omicron in February. It was like having a mix of cold and flu symptoms for about a week, but I note there were some lingering side effects that made it clear this was something different. I feel so fortunate that I was able to get the vaccine and it’s followup, and not find myself in the hospital or worse.

I’m lucky enough to live in a San Francisco Bay Area county with 94.3% of eligible occupants (83% of all occupants) vaccinated, and my monitoring daily wastewater COVID RNA stats and hospital COVID beds stats suggests current low risk. So, there’s arguably almost the same timing conundrum as for the seasonal flu jab:

Your topped-up antibody response, the rapid-response squad of the adaptive immune system, ramps up for a fortnight after booster jab and lasts four month (according to Israeli data about Pfizer, later confirmed by others). So, do I want that four months to run from late April to late August, or do I want it to start and end later? As with the seasonal flu, the trick is to try to target the next wave. Data so far are unclear about a BA.2 or other wave.

Of course, it may be that, by August, FDA and other national health authorities will decide “Actually, a jab every four months seems wise, going forward.” But, just to point out how tricky these things are, if a booster reformulated for newer strains gets EUA in June, someone who got booster #2 on April 3rd would, I think, be told to wait until August.

But certainly, in Our Good Host’s position, living in rural Ohio and having the exposure factors he mentioned, getting jab #2 does seem highly advisable. And likewise for many readers.

Got my fourth shot on Friday, just about as soon as they were available. No Covid for me so far, unless I had an asymptomatic case in the early days before testing was widely available, and I’m hoping to keep it that way. I’m also still wearing my mask indoors.

I’m glad to hear you’re taking care of yourself. Some people are reporting brain fuzziness from long Covid, which would be very troublesome for a writer.

I’m considering booster #2 for much the same reasons. I’ve been all-Moderna so far, and happy to be so as it seems to be reporting the best results. However, there is some discussion that there may be some benefit to mixing vaccine types as it is said to possibly confer wider protection against differing variants. Mr. Scalzi, would you care to comment about which vaccine types you’ve taken so far, and your opinion (if any) on the multi-vaccine question?

If you believe the data – and I do – this is the only sensible thing to do. It shifts the odds very strongly in your favor – and you STILL need the odds in your favor, as COVID is very much a continuing threat.

In case anyone doubts that, my wife lost one of her best friends to COVID four weeks ago. She was older and had a serious co-morbidity, but she had been double vaxxed and boosted to reduce her exposure. (The odds were in her favor, but the risk was still there at a lower level – not enough lower in her case.)

Tom –

Very prudent of you. We got notified by our phones that we were exposed to Covid and as near as we can figure it was at your book signing in Boulder. Tested negative, whew! Getting our 2nd booster on Friday.

2me booster tomorrow, 8:25 AM. That’s the first day of availability here. We’ve (wife and I) had our initial vaccines, and first booster, all on their first days available.
I have a wonky heart and tobacco-ash-filled lungs. Covid would not be good….

I have had my 2 rounds of Pfizer plus the booster and once CDC guidance recommends that folks in their 40s get the second booster I’ll be getting that as well. I don’t understand why people are rejecting guidance from PHDs in infectious diseases and going with podcasters and Facebook posts?

I’m chomping at the bit to get my second booster…which alas, I’m still not eligible for/allowed to get yet. Dammit. I’m really concerned since my last one was in October and now my antibodies or whatever are probably in the toilet.

Welcome to the herd! Make herd immunity stronger by the day!

Both the girlfriend and myself got Covid back in February here in the UK.
Thanks to bring fully vaccinated and having a booster in December it was only an inconvenience. We were both able to work from home but we both agree if we hadn’t vaccinated it could have been a lot worse.

The best thing about your post’s is to remind everyone that Covid hasn’t gone away just because it’s not the top news story anymore.

Not sure I’m eligible for a fourth dose yet (got my third in mid-December), and of course no doctor’s office here in Central NY has the shots! I’m shopping around for a Moderna injection as I’ve had three Pfizers already, and I’d like to add to the immunity system boost….

Anyway, I’ll check my local pharmacy’s schedule and see if I can get one.

A friend of my wife’s has gone to the dark side over the past few years and buying into that weirdness, decided that vaccines were bad, Ivermectin is good, blah-blah-blah. She got Covid last month and spent two weeks in the hospital… and recovered, at least somewhat. She’s now on full-time O2 and can’t drive, or walk more than a minute without resting. Did she learn anything? I don’t think so as her latest rant involved the Covid anti-viral, Paxlovid.

I had my first and second shots just about exactly a year ago, and my first booster in October, six months to the day after the second shot.

Then I caught Omicron at DisCon in December. It was mildish and I did not experience any significant or long-lasting symptoms, doubtless as a result of the antibodies in my system from the shots. Omicron further enhanced the immune system, of course.

I will definitely get the second booster, but want to confer with my physician about the optimum timing. I know it’s a crap-shoot because so much is still unknown, as Rick Moen correctly notes, but since I’ve got my annual physical in a couple of weeks (and I live in a county with over 90% of the eligible population fully vaxxed) I am not running out this minute to find a shot.

I do think we’re going to wind up with a schedule of boosters every four to six months for us codgers, and probably every six to nine months for everyone else. And I will gratefully roll up my sleeve to partake in the protection it offers every single time.

if there were the words to express myself, like-as-not there’d be thousands ‘n thousands poured out here (and TW)

every impoverished nation hearing we’ve let vax go to waste… not used because of you know, “science is evil”… has reason to revile us…

given symptoms… and lack of testing… I would suspect I had Covid once during pre-vax era which included a bit of gasping, spitting up blood, sense of getting run over, followed by a couple months challenged by shoelaces and basic algebra… and another post-vax suspect during which was more-or-less nasty-nasty flu-like and dire need for fluids… but no cognitive downing…

people in USA are dying at a rate of plus/minus 500/day but that’s not reason enough to get worried… * sigh *

As a certain SFPD detective might say:

“Did he get six shots or only five?” Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself…. [Y]ou’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well? Do ya, punk?

Smart man! I am getting my second. I contracted COVID after my first booster (several months after) so I know I am vulnerable. The good news is that even though I got sick, it was no worse than a head cold and it was gone in 3 days. Getting the booster just makes sense!

By coincidence, my wife and I got our second Pfizer boosters yesterday. Just walked into Costco, went to the pharmacy, and after about a ten minute wait, got boosted, Our first boosters were just over 6 months ago (late September). Will we get another in the Fall if there is a new one to better cover new strains? You bet your sweet bippy. We just spent three months in the land of Ron “Anything Goes” DeSantis, where masks were rarely worn (and yes, NO ONE uses turn signals). So the relative sanity of New York is welcome.

While we were away, a woman in our building who was a rabid anti-vaxxer (she told me “the only way you’ll get Covid is from wearing a mask”) and conspiracy nut died of cancer. I doubt Covid had anything to do with it, but if a positive vs. negative attitude really affects your health, she has been going downhill for years. RIP

I’m double-vaxxed and boosted, and managed to contract omicron with a group of double-vaxxed and boosted friends. The range of symptoms was startling. One got pretty significantly sick, though not hospitalization sick, with flu-like symptoms for a couple of weeks. Another and his wife had fever and sniffles for a day or so. Another and his wife had extreme fatigue. They both spent about 20 hours in bed and they were fine. Me? Absolutely no symptoms at all. But all of us agreed that those outcomes were better than the non-vax alternatives.

Still going to get my second booster. I have to travel at the end of May for work.

In mid-May, I attend my first conference since 2019. I’m planning to get my second boost the third week of April, so I can have it do the most good when I most need it. My wife works with kids and will probably get hers right away.

At this point, I am utterly past caring about the anti-vaxxers; they are just statistics to me.

Got my second booster on Monday night. All those reasons. And another: I have a beloved 96 year old aunt I visit when I can, and I have zero interest in tracking in a variant on my shoe like a piece of vagrant toilet paper.

Better living through chemistry, man.

Glad you’re taking sensible precautions, and sorry to hear you’ve lost people. :-( We’ve lost people in the past 2 years (though not to COVID) and I for one take those losses as reminders to Do What We Can.

We both got boosted in January; we have plans to travel in the fall; therefore we will get our 2nd boosters in July or August.

Your Berkeley gathering (/wherever /whenever) will probably be our first exposure to more than two or three people at a time, so I guess I’ll be trying to get my second boost in a few weeks before that happens. Whenever and wherever that may be going to happen. I’m asking.

Thank you for your service should apply to we who serve the world by being vaxxed and boosted.

I have just one booster and think I will wait until June for the second one. I got Pfizerated about a year ago, and got booster one in Dec.

June would be six months from the first booster.

Of course, if the pandemic again gains control I will shorten that schedule. BA.2 is rampant if England and parts of Europe. If it gets here, in force, I will rethink my strategy.

Haven’t actually gotten my second booster (fourth shot). I’m thinking I might get it in the fall, with the annual flu shot.
Also, I have coughing symptoms but I tested covid-negative. I thought it was just allergies to the wood smoke, but no wood fires for over a week and still a bit coughy, so now I think I have lung cancer. But whilst I THINK I have cancer, I KNOW I have hypochondria, so maybe I just need a new rescue inhaler, being as my current one expired in 2011, and wasn’t from my current doctor. Ugh, who wants to leave the house for a doctor visit for that.

Pretty sure the whole family had Omicron a couple of months ago, and we’re all vaxed and boosted (where applicable). My wife and I handled it without issue, but my 14-year-old son had complications. It’s a fairly common problem with kids lately–Covid-related inflammation of the ileum– and it required a trip to the emergency room because of the massive pain. Even the docs thought he had a burst appendix, and when they went in to remove it, found a healthy appendix and massive swelling of the intestines. When that happens, they just shut down and keep filling up. It was so bad his large intestine had backed up into the small.

Turns out all he needed was painkillers, something to bring down the swelling, and stool softener. Still took three days to recover.

This virus doesn’t play…

the docs thought he had a burst appendix,
and when they went in to remove it, found a
healthy appendix and massive swelling of
the intestines.

Yeek! I wouldn’t want a surgeon near me before seeing a CAT scan and MRI proving there was any reason to cut. I suppose insurance companies discourage paying for scans ….

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