Will we need a booster shot?

16 September, 2020

In an excellent article from the Doherty Institute, Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty describes that a booster shot may be “a good idea” with any of the COVID vaccines, or indeed after having been infected with SARS-CoV-2.

He cites the case of the 33-year-old man from Hong Kong who has recently been proven to have been infected twice with SARS-CoV-2. This patient was quite symptomatic with his first infection, whereas the second infection was asymptomatic. It is thought that the patient’s immunity had waned sufficiently to allow him to be reinfected.

“The idea that mild reinfection will provide a natural ‘booster shot’ that leads to better, long-term immunity is, in fact, very familiar.” Prof Doherty says. Prof Doherty describes how the “one-shot” strategy was used when the measles vaccine was first introduced in 1968, however there were outbreaks in the USA by 1981.  "It turned out that children maintained their immunity while there was still enough measles virus circulating in the community to give them a mild reinfection." he wrote. “The problem was overcome by giving a measles booster.”

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