ARTICLE

Is A Booster Vaccine Necessary?

By TFI Student Committee (TFISC) • April 30, 2022

Source: Picture 1. Booster Dose

The purpose of this article is to find out why booster vaccines are necessary after first vaccination and how it affects our body as many people think a lot about whether additional vaccination is necessary or not.

As we know, the recent surge in COVID-19 cases has made us worried about returning to our activities. With the support of the government, Indonesia is aggressively vaccinating its citizens starting with the 1st and 2nd doses with various types of vaccinations, namely Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Moderna, Pfizer, Novavax, Sputnik-V, Janssen, Convidencia, and Zifivax. So far, most of the Indonesian people have received the 2nd dose of the vaccination program. Therefore, let’s first find out what vaccination is, the process of inserting vaccines (injections) into the body to stimulate the body’s immune system and finally immunity (immune) against certain infectious diseases. The spike in COVID-19 cases has forced the Indonesian government to oblige its people to get booster vaccinations.

COVID-19 vaccine booster is an additional dose or doses of a vaccine given after the previous shot’s protection has begun to decrease over time. Why should we do a booster vaccination? Based on information released by WHO on 22 December 2021 “The World Health Organization (WHO), with support from the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and the COVID-19 Vaccine Working Group, is continuing to review emerging evidence regarding the need and timing of booster doses for currently available COVID-19.” WHO also said that the importance of booster vaccination aims to prevent transmission that will occur in the middle of 2022, as described in the WHO Strategy to Achieving Global Vaccination of COVID-19 by mid-2022.

Booster vaccination is suggested because of concerns that the vaccine’s effectiveness diminishes over time and may not protect against new strains. The distribution of booster are focused on older persons with chronic medical issues, and those with other risk factors may be given a booster. Furthermore, people who have received the second dose for more than 6 months also may get booster vaccination. Homologs which are the same as the previous vaccine and heterologous that are different from the previous vaccine types were used in the administration of booster vaccination.

The booster vaccination contains the same virus or bacteria (called antigen) as the preceding dose. This virus or bacteria does not infect people with COVID-19, but it does strengthen our antibodies to resist it before the virus is inactivated. Booster vaccines have produced a large number of antigen, thus people don’t need to be worried. There are several types of aluminum in vaccines, including aluminum hydroxide, which boosts the vaccine’s effectiveness; aluminum salt to make us feel relieved before or after the injection; and aluminum phosphate that strengthens the body’s immune system against the vaccine. By injecting a booster vaccine containing those substances in modest dosages can help to boost the body’s immune system on a regular basis.

After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine booster, people may experience some temporary symptoms, such as a sore, swollen arm where the shot was injected. For a day or two, it may cause a fever, as well as body aches, headaches, and exhaustion. Other possible side effects that can occur are swollen lymph nodes and chills. These symptoms do not indicate sickness. It shows that the immune system is reacting to the vaccines and building up immunity to the coronavirus.

After vaccination, we still need to continuously protect our body. Side effects can affect daily activities for several days, and some people may have fever, muscle aches and swelling, redness, pain, or tingling at the injection site for 1-2 days. Therefore, we need to drink plenty of fluids and some paracetamol may be taken to relieve these sensations. Additionally, a cool and clean damp towel can be placed over the area pained to reduce discomfort. 

The conclusion is booster vaccination is recommended. This is because the booster vaccination dose contains antigens which fortify antibodies to resist before the virus becomes inactive and produces large numbers of antigens to protect the body. However, booster vaccinations should be given to prevent transmission due to concerns that the effectiveness of the vaccine may decrease over time and may not provide protection against new strains.

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