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What are your plans about when to get a 4th booster?

We got our original booster shots at the end of October. I know their protection wanes over time, but I'm not sure how fast and by how much. I also know some countries have been wanting to see a booster within a certain window (3 months? 6 months? It's a moving target, I know!) of arrival.
We're planning to be in Italy from mid September to early October. So we're thinking it might be better all around to postpone our boosters until closer to the trip. For those of you also weighing when to boost, what are you thinking? Would splitting the difference between now and September (maybe late June or early July) be your choice? Or would you wait until closer to the travel date, knowing that by doing so you might be lowering your resistance in the interim? Or jump at the chance to get the shot now? I'm guessing there may be an annual shot available in the fall, but I don't want to take the chance of getting a booster immediately and hoping for the annual shot in the fall, because I very well may be traveling before the fall shot is fully available. I know there are no crystal balls or right answers here....just interested in people's thoughts around this. Thanks!

Posted by
5687 posts

I feel adequately protected with the shots I have gotten. For now, I am planning to wait.

Posted by
105 posts

I got my booster in September 2021. I'm planning on going to Spain this Thanksgiving, so I'm also planning on waiting until it's closer to my travel date. I have a sneaking suspicion that my immunity has waned, but I'm still double-masking (KN95 + surgical mask) in crowded interior spaces and staying home as much as possible. On the other hand, my parents want to go on a cruise to Europe in September, so that could change everything. However, I'm not putting much stock into that trip actually happening, so I'm sticking to my original booster plan.

Posted by
2924 posts

I got my booster in October. My trip is in September. I plan to get the 4th booster (Moderna) in late May or early June, after my second Shingles vaccination. In the meantime I wear a mask where ever I go since 40% of people in Arizona are unvaccinated and few are wearing masks. If I thought I would be able to get two Covid boosters, I'd do one now and the other in early August, but I don't think that will be allowed without a medical reason.

Posted by
9899 posts

I feel like Andrew, in the current context. If another wave came through that seemed menacing, that could speed up my interest in getting a second booster. For the moment though, I plan on waiting (I had my booster in early December).

I mean I guess the other part of this is that while I would be eligible in the U.S. (I am over 50), here in France, additional boosters haven't been made available to the general public yet.

Posted by
23472 posts

We are in the same situation as Ruth. Will arrive in Italy on Aug 1 so our through is to get the second booster sometime in June or July ---- AND, of course, it all depends on the medical situation at that time -- June/July.

Posted by
740 posts

Don't mean to be rude, but how do some of you conclude that you're adequately protected by your existing vaccinations (if any)? At best, that seems like a WAG. I will continue to follow the guidance of the FDA/CDC.

Posted by
6670 posts

My booster was six months ago (today) and my trip starts in mid-May. I'll be looking to get the second booster some time in April. My plan is Kaiser, but if they don't offer it soon enough I'll get it at the grocery store.

Posted by
682 posts

We are traveling to France in one month and are hoping to get the booster before we travel. I asked my NP, and she said we should get it. I will schedule an appointment as soon as I see it is being offered at an area pharmacy/clinic.

Posted by
8659 posts

A lot of the important qualifiers and information gets lost between the actual statement and what people hear. This is what CDC says in their approval for getting a second booster:

This is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time.

In other words, its not necessary for everyone at this time. In fact the discussion from more cautious health officials is concern that near future variants may result in another change (and need for a booster) in the vaccine, and that continued bumps to the immune system may be counter-productive.

Whether travel is a health risk I guess is your call. I am waiting until the people who need it most go first.

Posted by
354 posts

We leave for Spain on April 18th so we plan to get ours quite soon. We got our 3rd shot in October. We're both early 60s and husband has a few risk factors.

Posted by
2267 posts

I'm a category that, while not small, seems under-studied—I'm thrice vaccinated and had Covid. (Early in the delta wave, after 15 months of immaculate rule-following and being fully vaccinated.)

I got a booster in December mostly because it had become necessary for accessing some venues in my state. But, while I don't have a specific concern about getting a second booster, I feel a little reluctant to do so without evidence supporting the choice.

Posted by
6113 posts

Fourth doses aren’t available in the U.K. other than for the elderly and clinically vulnerable. I will be getting mine as soon as it’s offered, which could be months away. Better protected than not.

Posted by
278 posts

I leave next week for a month in the Balkans and I'm getting my second booster shot tomorrow. I'm over 65, in good health, but I'm getting it before my trip for added peace of mind since my last booster was in November. Just a personal preference.....

Posted by
8652 posts

I think that I will follow my doctor's advice on this issue. I don't know what that is yet. I do know that if I were traveling to a country like Switzerland or Austria with their current 270 day rules, I would be thinking very carefully about timing.

Posted by
650 posts

We plan to get the 4th booster because we are traveling to Switzerland in September. Our 1st booster was in October 2021…beyond the 270 days window, as required by Switzerland right now.
Not sure when…possible April, before a short trip in May to the San Juan islands.

Posted by
2475 posts

I read recently that the fourth dose works more effectively if you wait a year or thereabouts. I got my third dose October 13th, am planning a mid-October trip, so if I do get the 2nd booster, will aim for mid-September. Edited to add: It would be different for different people depending on level of risk for severe disease, of course.

Posted by
2507 posts

We are traveling to Italy in a few weeks so I scheduled my second booster before it was approved. I got the second booster yesterday just as they approved it. They had a lot of openings at our local Walgreens so it was super easy to get an appointment. My husband doesn’t need a second booster as he has had the three shots and a mild case of covid in February which per our doctor is the same if not better than a booster. Otherwise I would have waited a bit and just followed the same protocol of masking, distancing, etc. We are both in our 70’s so we felt we should do whatever it takes as immunity wanes. Being on a plane surrounded by those who aren’t vaccinated or wearing a mask is too big a risk for us. They will probably come out with an omicron specific vaccine in the fall and we will undoubtedly get another shot. Hopefully that will be before we travel again in late summer. Edited to add that all I have is a sore arm from the booster which ibuprofen took care of, no malaise, fever, etc.

Posted by
1696 posts

It's not available for me yet, in Canada. It is available here only for immuno-compromised and very elderly people. I'm 64, so I expect I will be in the next cohort for availability. However, I don't expect to be able to get it before my next trip, which is only 5 weeks away. My booster was in mid-December, so I plan to be careful on my trip and have stocked up on N95 masks.

Posted by
14580 posts

I will follow the advice of my doc. What else is there? Taking 4th shot, ie, 2nd Pfizer booster, I don't look forward to it but my first booster does not expire until the end of June, if it has a six month expiration.

If so, I'll get that 2nd one, Pfizer, in early July, which fits well time-wise into the travel plans of just going to France this time in July. Getting that 2nd booster, I'll feel more protected, real or perceived.

Posted by
22 posts

Heading to Italy in May, in my 60's . Getting 2nd booster nest week, Italy close around 90% vacced US probably not more than 60%. I'm travelling as safe as I can. I don't mind wearing mask, glad to do it on RS bus. How many times on a trip, does one person get a cold, and within a few days, everyone is sneezing and snotting. So excited to be going back to Italy. Everyone have fun!!

Posted by
86 posts

Switzerland trip planned for September. Will wait and see how/if things change before deciding, but as things stand now, will probably look at getting 4th dose in August.

Posted by
682 posts

I got the second booster yesterday just as they approved it.

Did insurance cover the cost of your second booster?

Posted by
6788 posts

My spouse and I got our 4th shots last week, in advance of traveling to Thailand (where Omicron is raging) next week.

We try to be "early adopters" for vaccines. She's a front-line health care worker. She got her first Pfizer dose on (IIRC) the second day that they were approved back before Christmas of 2020 -- we joke that she got hers two days before President-elect Biden did (true!). I got mine the first day it was available for my cohort in our state, a few weeks later. Neither of us are young. We both got our third shots in late August 2021, about 10 days before we left for a trip to Europe.

Everything I have read, throughout the pandemic and all the vaccination talk, has suggested that your highest level of protection generally starts about 2 weeks after your most recent dose. It's not a coincidence that we have gotten our 3rd and 4th jabs a couple weeks before international travel.

I have been following developments overseas (not because I don't trust the US FDA/CDC guidelines -- I absolutely do) but because I find other countries' experience can often tell us a lot about what is likely to happen here in the US in the weeks and months ahead. Israel and The UK, in particular. Israel was "first out of the gate" with the Pfizer vaccine being quickly and widely rolled out - weeks before it was here. And the UK has been a good predictor of COVID trends in the US. Multiple studies have been showing that protection starts to wane about 4-5 months after your first booster (3rd shot); it drops off significantly after 6 months. Israel has been giving 4th shots to those that want them for a while now. So it's been pretty easy to see that 4th jabs would be approved here soon.

FWIW, our 4th shots were easy, with no side effects at all other than the soreness at the injection point for a couple days. My 2nd (and especially 3rd) shots kicked my butt briefly, with mild to moderate flu-like symptoms for a few hours the evening following the shot. Not so with shot #4, just the sore arm, nothing more.

We will gladly take another dose if/when it is warranted and available. We have a trip planned for October, if we do go ahead with that trip, maybe we'll get jab #5 then. I suspect that at some point (maybe next year?), we will all go down to once-a-year COVID shots, probably in sync with annual autumn flu shots (or perhaps an annual "universal Flu/COVID" vaccine that is currently under development). We will see.

Until then, I just roll up my sleeve and say "hit me, I'm open!"....I have not grown a second head yet, and the 5G cellular reception is awesome!

💪🏻 💉💉💉💉

Posted by
168 posts

We're in our late 60s and had our boosters mid November. Going to Europe end of August. We are planning on waiting until end of July, unless we have a big surge here in the US. If we weren't traveling, we would probably wait a bit longer. If we were under 60 we would probably wait a bit longer.

The Red Cross starting checking for antibodies in blood donations again this month. I just missed the cut off for my last donation, but I'm a regular donor, so I'm curious to see, in a month or so, whether my donation shows any evidence of Covid antibodies.

(And David, I love your post!)

Posted by
5687 posts

Eric:

Don't mean to be rude, but how do some of you conclude that you're adequately protected by your existing vaccinations (if any)? At best, that seems like a WAG. I will continue to follow the guidance of the FDA/CDC.

My understanding of immunity and how vaccines work is that (with Covid for example) the spike protein the vaccines induce trains the immune system - not just to produce short-term antibodies which gradually fade but also to train our T cells and B cells. Some vaccines (other than for Covid) are given as multiple shots because the immune system seems to "learn" better when challenged with a lag between exposure.

Clearly there is a point of diminishing returns with multiple shots of the same vaccine. Research has determined that two shots of Shingles vaccine is adequate - we don't need to keep getting repeats, but one shot is not as effective as two. We don't yet know what that optimal dosing schedule is yet with Covid vaccines. Maybe 3-4 weeks between wasn't long enough; maybe it needs to be a few months in between as with the Shingles vaccine...but we don't keep getting "boosted" for Shingles after the first few shots.

The fact that antibodies gradually fade after each vaccination doesn't mean the vaccines are "wearing off" - this is just normally how our immune systems work. They stop producing antibodies after a while until the next time the virus (or the spike from a vaccine) is encountered - and then our B cells that remember the virus start producing antibodies again. Meanwhile, we may get temporarily ill..but because our immune systems remember the virus, we're much less likely to get really sick - the immune system is already trained to respond thanks to past vaccininations.

This is what most vaccines are SUPPOSED to do: protect us against hospitalization and death, not just keep us from getting sick. Train our immune systems: we get a temporary antibody boost after the first and second (or third) shots, then the other parts of the immune system are able to produce new antibodies again if needed and antibodies fade.

But this perception changed with Covid - the first vaccines seemed so effective at even protecting against any illness that people started to assume that is the standard for any vaccine. Now people feel they must avoid Covid infection at all and keep getting these boosters to stimulate antibodies over and over again, even though we've never done that in the past.

There must be some cost to our bodies to keep producing antibodies over and over again, otherwise they wouldn't stop producing antibodies over time, right? No one yet knows what the cost is long-term.

As for me, I've had two shots (one J&J, one Moderna booster six months later). A recent CDC study showed that this combo has been highly effective at preventing severe illness during Omicron. So I'm not worried about hospitalization and death from Covid. I might get sick temporarily if infected, but I don't have any underlying health conditions, so I should be fine - my B cells remember the spike protein and will produce the new antibodies and defeat the virus.

I'm more interested in getting another Covid shot in a year or so, maybe after we've got vaccines updated for newer variants, as we do annually with flu shots that always contain different virus signatures of the latest circulating flu viruses. We don't get the same flu vaccine every year to "boost" us - I don't see why we'd need to with Covid. I thought the first Covid booster was important as Covid (like Shingles) probably needs more than one shot to provide maximum training to my immune system but from here on I'm looking for an updated vaccine for new variants, not just taking the same one. And even the "boosters" don't prevent breakthrough infections - lots of boosted people still caught Omicron.

Posted by
1225 posts

Wait, I think I need to check things again. I thought here in the US only 50 and over can get an additional booster. My husband, sister and I are all in our 40s (travelling in June with MIL in 70s). I want to get a booster in May for our trip in June, but thought it wasn't allowed. Guess I need to check on that.

Posted by
2507 posts

@mnannie The covid booster cost me $0. I have a Medicare Advantage plan. I don’t know if insurance is supposed to cover it or if the government covers it. Either way it was worth it to me to have that extra protection. You could certainly call your local pharmacy and ask.

Posted by
2507 posts

No the covid shots will not prevent you from getting covid but, as my husband can attest after having the three covid shots and contracting covid, if you do get covid the case will be really mild. He had a very slight congestion for about a week and a tickle cough and no other symptoms. My neighbors who have only had two doses of the vaccine got covid and were quite sick but did not end up in the hospital or worse.

@David Loved your post.

Posted by
39 posts

We were boosted in October and are getting the 4th on Friday, the first date available here. We are 68 and 75 in good health but are leaving for France on April 10. Have been masking all along. If our travel was further out we would likely have waited. Who knows? We’re doing what we can with what’s available in the moment!

Posted by
37 posts

Having had two Pfizer shots and Omicron over the holidays, I will hold off until the end of summer, if at all. Would prefer a vaccine that does not turn my body into a spike protein producing machine, as the mRNA vaccines do. Something like Novavax or Covaxin if ever approved.

Posted by
2594 posts

I had a booster in early November and will have a second booster, now that it's ok'd for over-50s, on Tuesday.
The waves of infection rise at different points in different places, so if I think I'll benefit from another shot some months from now, I'll get another shot. I'm still not doing a lot of traveling, but I work with a multinational population that gets around a lot. My feeling/anxiety/concern is that just because the last lull in infection rates lasted a good while that doesn't mean this current lull will also last a long while -- it already looks to me like things locally might be on the upswing, so trying to time a booster for future travel rather than for current protection seems not the best move.

Posted by
2113 posts

Mary, not everyone who is boosted and contracts Covid has a mild case. I know several who were near death, survived and have long Covid.
My son is boosted and was knocked on his backside. He was very I’ll.
Hubby and I hope to go to Portugal and Spain the first of September. We were hoping to take the 4th shot in July but we recently discovered that hubby has lymphoma; so I see us getting the booster this week? We see the oncologist Friday and will ask him for our best strategy.

Posted by
5687 posts

Aimee:

Shingles doesn’t continue to mutate.

Which is a good argument for getting vaccinated against newer strains of Covid, not just against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. We aren't there yet with updated Covid vaccines - but we will be eventually.

Also, responding to later in your posts re:omicron and vaxxed people still contracting it, it most definitely helps lessen severity, hospitalization and death.

Yes, in vaccinated people. I'm not arguing people shouldn't get vaccinated. But I've not seen any convincing evidence that a fourth shot (or what would be a third shot for me) lessens severity, hospitalization, or death. I've seen one study from Israel that is not convincing.

Posted by
5687 posts

Aimee:

Andrew- part of the reason for the booster is they do have studies showing immunity wanes- and for some of us on very heavy immuno-compromising drugs, the immunity isn't sufficient, which is why they approved boosters and then a second booster for immuno-compromised and high-risk individuals. Playing in there is each person's response will be different- it is not actually a standardized response.

Yes, of course. But...I was specifically answering Eric's question (which seemed directed at me) about why I am not planning to get (or not sure I will get) another shot. I wasn't saying someone who is immunocompromised should not get one.

The authorization was for anyone over 50, not just immunocompromised people. I qualify but am leaning against getting one (at least, anytime soon) for the reasons I stated above.

And "immunity" does not fade in people with a healthy immune system. The immune system is quite complicated. Antibodies are just one part of it. The fact that antibodies decline over time doesn't mean "immunity" is declining. Yes, if you don't have a healthy immune system, then you might be more worried about needing another shot. At this point, I'm not worried about myself.

Unlike someone upthread, everything points towards mRNA vaccines as the most excellent, advanced medical technology we have for vaccination.

The mRNA vaccines certainly have advantages, but it's not clear that they are necessarily the most effective vaccines long-term. The viral vector vaccines like the J&J used have benefits too. There are conflicting studies showing that long-term immunity (not just antibodies) from J&J might be more enduring than the mRNA in some cases. I think we are still learning and should keep our minds open.

Posted by
682 posts

@mnannie The covid booster cost me $0. I have a Medicare Advantage plan. I don’t know if insurance is supposed to cover it or if the government covers it. Either way it was worth it to me to have that extra protection. You could certainly call your local pharmacy and ask.

Thanks, I tried to schedule an appointment today at the clinic today, but they said they weren't yet giving boosters to the over 65 crowd. We have a good supplemental from my former employer, so it will probably be covered. I was curious more than anything, because we will get it either way within the next two weeks.

Posted by
2507 posts

@mnannie We get our flu shots and covid shots at CVS and Walgreens and they have always been free. You might try one of those locations. I actually booked my appointment a few days before the shots were approved. The online booking site asked if I was immune compromised and qualified for the shot. I am in my 70’s so I figure I am. No one asked me any questions about that when I got to the pharmacy and I got the shot. There were a ton of appointment openings as demand for the shots have gone down unlike in January 2021 when we all wanted the shot and had a hard time getting one. Now it is approved for people over 50 so no one should question it as long as you have an id showing your age. I think the government covers the shot.

Posted by
27447 posts

I had a previously scheduled appointment with my doctor today. I'm a healthy 70-year-old. I've been very cautious about masking and avoiding most unnecessary, crowded, indoor situations. I waited almost 9 months to get my booster (early November 2021). If I weren't planning to travel, I'd be very likely to wait until an updated vaccine is available, assuming that happens by the fall. I survived a week in a sports arena (full of masked people, but still) in an under-vaccinated state back in January without getting infected. I figure that's a good sign.

My doctor offered me a second booster today, but I explained my plan to go to Europe in early June and return in early October. She then said to get Booster #2 in May--which would be about 6-1/2 months after Booster #1. There's a good chance I will follow her advice, since I have no clue whether I could get vaccinated in Europe mid-way through my trip if we got hit with a problematic variant. However, I'm going to keep reading the related articles that cross my path, looking for reasons why it might not be a good idea for someone in my situation to get re-boosted so soon.

Posted by
50 posts

Highly recommend reading David's response earlier in this thread. He knows his stuff and I have read the same information regarding data pointing to the significant waning of effectiveness by the 4-5 month mark, including booster shots.

We'll be at the six month mark from our booster when we head out on our trip in May, so we'll definitely be getting the jab in the next few weeks to protect ourselves and anyone we'd come into contact with. I really didn't think the 2nd booster would be approved so soon, but we consider this to be great news.

Posted by
5687 posts

Aimee:

Immunity does indeed wane, as Tetanus shows us, even in healthy people.

Tetanus is a bacteria, not a virus.

An extreme example, but relevant in terms of how quickly SARS 2 Covid 19 mutates, worse even than flu strains. However, this is veering off topic and I’m not arguing with a person on the internet about it.

You're right, I probably shouldn't either!

Posted by
140 posts

We are getting it next week, ahead of our Europe trip in three weeks. My husband is over 65, and I have autoimmune disease as well as being a diet controlled diabetic. My husband is just past the 6 month mark from his first booster, and I’m just about to hit it as well. If we weren’t going on this trip, we would wait.

I’ve tried to find as much info as possible on the pros and cons, but it feels too early to have truly comprehensive data on what the best timing protocol actually is — therefore, for us, age and health factors were the added push to get the additional booster.

Posted by
873 posts

I am under 50 and so not eligible. But if my age bracket becomes approved/eligible for a 4th shot before my trip, I'll get it. Why wouldn't I?

Posted by
201 posts

My husband and I returned from Greece 10 days ago. We promptly tested positive for Covid 3 days later. It was bound to happen; the vaccine was never expected to protect against contracting the virus, and the relaxation/lack of Covid protocols almost guarantees exposure. That being said we both now have additional immunity to the virus, so we will postpone getting our fourth shots until later in the summer, when we will be cruising. To those of you traveling soon--continue disinfecting, distancing, and masking as much as possible. We didn't suffer much with the virus, but it added to our post-travel depression.

Posted by
5687 posts

Anna:

I am under 50 and so not eligible. But if my age bracket becomes approved/eligible for a 4th shot before my trip, I'll get it. Why wouldn't I?

I don't know if you should get one or not. But...there are reasons to wait. (Check out a few of the articles above, such as the NY Times article if you want to read about pros and cons.) And, there is no evidence as of yet that people under 50 who have healthy immune systems benefit from a 4th shot.

Posted by
682 posts

I went into the clinic today and asked at the check-in desk when they were going to schedule appointments for the booster, and she said they had no idea.

Then, I walked across the lobby to the pharmacy desk and the pharmacist said I could walk in and get it whenever I wanted. I didn't have my card with me, so I will go back next week. There is still no charge, but he has heard that funding might end in June.

Posted by
4 posts

Got my 4th booster yesterday at CVS. Medicare pays for over 65. Headed to Portugal in June.

Posted by
5687 posts

pj, thus far the Covid vaccines are still free for everyone who qualifies. This may change if federal funding runs out shortly.

Posted by
2035 posts

We're 70+, no immune issues and in good health. Our doctor advised the shot if it has been more than four months since our last inoculation. Now we’re boosted again and travel planning was not a factor at all in our decision. Stay well and safe travels.

Posted by
873 posts

I don't know if you should get one or not. But...there are reasons to wait. (Check out a few of the articles above, such as the NY Times article if you want to read about pros and cons.) And, there is no evidence as of yet that people under 50 who have healthy immune systems benefit from a 4th shot.

You may have missed the part where I said I'll get it if my age bracket is approved/eligible. I'm not contemplating getting one now, but if it becomes recommended for my demographic in the next month, I see no reason not to.

Posted by
15686 posts

I was eligible (in Israel) for my 4th shot in mid-January, 6 months after my 3rd. I delayed for a month because the effectiveness was (at least then) reported to wane after about 3 months and I had a trip planned to Italy in mid-March (where I am now :-). In Jan-Feb, there were still (and continue) strict guidelines in Israel, like masks required indoors everywhere, The friends I spent time with had all had 3 shots, most had 4, and I didn't go to "mass" gatherings. Italian regulations are good and everyone seems to be following them. Israel has eliminated the requirement for testing before flying home which is a relief. They do require a PCR on arrival before leaving the airport, but the worst case for me is that I test positive and have to quarantine at home.

Were I young and healthy, I might feel differently, but being old and decrepit (but thankfully with no significant health problems) I try to be careful.

I can tell you that being in Italy is great.

Posted by
100 posts

I have a RS trip planned for mid June and my 1st booster was mid august so I am now 7 mos post booster. My PCP said to wait till 1 month before my mid June trip to get 2nd booster UNLESS local cases start to rise then get Booster ASAP.

Posted by
486 posts

Ages 67 and 70. Europe cruise trip starting May 12. Will get 2nd booster very soon….nxt week. Thankfully never had Covid…..That we are aware of.?? Trying to avoid it. Will wear masks inside as much as possible.

Posted by
8659 posts

I follow several legitimate public health information sources, and note that the many of the authorities are predicting another surge in fall/winter this year due to the collapse in public will. There may be other variants by then as well. I have no international travel currently planned, so my timing will more depend on what I see as the health risk here at home. I don't want to peak too soon.

Posted by
713 posts

I'm in my 70's, no serious health conditions. Had the Moderna (booster) shot [3rd COVID vaccination] last October (five months ago). I'm booked to fly to the UK at the end of May, still not sure if I'll go.

I got my second Moderna booster [4th COVID vaccination shot] 3 days ago at Walgreen's. (Kaiser here isn't booking those yet, I think because they don't have sufficient supplies of vaccines for it. However, the paperwork from Walgreen's has already been processed by Kaiser and of course I didn't pay anything for the shot.)

I'm taking some road trips this month and next. Mostly I'll be camping, so these trips will have much less potential exposure to infection than the plane trip/mass transit/hotel situations of international travel. But I like the idea of boosting my immunity and reducing my chances of severe illness if I do get COVID - therefore, I got the 4th shot (second booster) this week.

I appreciate the thoughtful and informative discussion here. It's been helpful!

Posted by
845 posts

Why would you not get the 4th shot ASAP? What is the downside? Those of you waiting to get it for a trip later in the year, the exposure on a trip isn’t anything more than your exposure now. If you think the second booster works for you on your trip, it will work for you now. I am not saying that the second booster will be better overall or not, simply that it is available and why would you not get it. There may not be a big upside to it, but there is now downside to it. After all, you have already weathered the previous three shots.

Posted by
5687 posts

treemoss2:

Why would you not get the 4th shot ASAP? What is the downside?

The Covid vaccines are all safe and effective against hospitalization and death. A third shot of mRNA vaccine (a "booster", or second shot if your first was J&J) has shown to be essential to improving overall immunity more than just the initial shots. But this in my opinion the benefit has not been demonstrated for a fourth shot (or third for J&J recipients), except for people who are immunocompromised (which would probably include say everyone 65+ to be safe).

One study from Israel supposedly shows a big drop in deaths and hospitalization but it is not convincing to me (and to some others). E.g. death from Covid wasn't differentiated from death "with" Covid.

Those of you waiting to get it for a trip later in the year, the exposure on a trip isn’t anything more than your exposure now.

A recent study shows waning immunity from infection after just four weeks after the fourth shot. (Presumably, this means antibodies fade quickly.) So of course there is reason to wait if people are planning a trip where they'd worry about increased risk. Still, breakthrough infections have been common with Omicron even in people who had just had the third shot. I think it's wishful thinking to think another shot of vaccine makes one unlikely to get infected with Covid if exposed. Death and hospitalization are the things we should really be worried about.

We all need to decide for ourselves whether or not to get another shot (if we are eligible) and when. As for me (over 50 but under 65 and otherwise healthy), I feel adequately protected with my one J&J and my Moderna booster six months after that. If I get a third shot I plan not to get it for a while yet. I'd prefer to wait for a new Covid vaccine with a different spike protein e.g. for Omicron, not just another dose of the same type of vaccine.

Posted by
486 posts

Aimee…sorry for your long Covid!! I have followed cases of it since the first a”diagnostic words” came out 2 yrs ago. It’s noooo joke!! Hard understandably when many minimize the risks of Covid! Not everyone who walks away with even the most minimal Covid symptoms are sparred as you say! Some were the healthiest and even vaxed….with no known immune issues! I am thankful more studies are ongoing on this! Your symptoms would be very difficult for me to live with! Hang in there and hopeful there are soon more good treatment options for you and others.

Posted by
173 posts

I got my 4th shot (2nd booster) March 30th, in anticipation of departing mid June to Europe from US. My county health department has been posting very low and continued declining Covid case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths in the past 6 weeks. Now I read that a study from Israel indicates the immunity from the second booster wanes significantly after only 4 weeks and is equal after 8 weeks to when the 2nd booster was administered. So only a "boost" for a couple of months. I wish now I continued just masking/distancing/avoiding indoor public spaces as much as possible and waited until May for my booster. Covid is new and we haven't had the time to study all the effects of various treatments/vaccines. I just follow what is the current recommendations and hope for the best.

Posted by
486 posts

We are scheduled for our 2nd boosters this evening. We leave for Europe on May 12. Maybe we should cancel and wait 2 more wks if vacc wains that much after 4 wks? Just trying to get the most bang for our buck…oh wait it’s free…as we are (kinda) old!
Aimee so glad you will be in a long Covid study! I love food and to eat! Any taste disorder like yours would put me in a spin! And fatigue and brain fog! Amazing how I see in other threads your resilience for backpacking etc!

Posted by
173 posts

Aimee - A neighbor lost his smell and taste for 2 months. Then came back gradually over a week's time. A sister of a co-worker still, after a year, does not have complete smell & taste but it improves bit by bit for her. I wish you well and hope things improve for you too.

Posted by
7 posts

Our trip is coming up in June, so we’re thinking of getting the second booster in May, which will be just about 6 months after the first booster. That might all change if another surge comes along…

Posted by
1199 posts

Assuming the US keeps it's testing-before-return rules in place, and if the results of the Israeli studies bear out (that a second booster gives about a 4-week reduction in likeliness of infection) I'll get my second booster about 2 weeks before my next trip.

If either of the above changes, I'll get it about a year from my last booster.

Posted by
2252 posts

I just got my second booster yesterday. I’m going to France early next month and Ireland in late June. I just figured it wouldn’t hurt. I was given Moderna for all my shots and had no reactions to any of the vaccinations. Yes, I qualified (age+) and insurance paid for it. Plan to mask (Rick says I have to for group activities and I probably would anyway) and anytime I’m feeling like it’s important to do so. I feel like I’ve done everything I can to protect myself and my travel companions and if I should contract covid, it won’t be because of anything I didn’t do.

Posted by
7031 posts

I got mine 3 days ago. I leave for Germany on April 25th and I don't want to take any chances. BUT if I didn't have this upcoming trip, I probably would have waited another 2-3 months before getting it (my last booster was in November 2021).

Posted by
4482 posts

We are not getting it yet. I read(sorry I don't remember the source) that if you do get it, it only increases your immunity for 4-6 weeks so you would need to get it fairly close to your trip to have any benefit. Nature is one of the most respected science journals in the world and they said it wouldn't help thaat much. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00486-9

Posted by
385 posts

I am eligible in mid May.

I plan to follow in the footsteps of that famous Tasmanian adventurer, traveller, sailor, and raconteur Errol. In like Flynn.

Regards Ron