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No One Knows if You Need Another Covid Booster

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The US Food and Drug Administration is pushing for you to get an annual Covid booster. The problem is, the data isn’t clear on whether you need one. 

Covid isn’t going anywhere. In the US and many European countries, SARS-CoV-2 is still circulating at significant levels, with Covid settling into being a major, ongoing cause of illness. Boosters may protect against its worst effects, but these are shots in the dark: insurance against severe disease, but possibly not necessary. This is because we don’t know how long their protection against severe illness actually lasts. 

It’s time we found out, but that means switching focus. At the level of basic biology, it means paying less attention to the antibodies vaccines generate and focusing more on another very important but overlooked part of the immune system: memory T cells. “The way you’re going to know who needs boosters is to know how long memory cells last,” says Paul Offit, a professor of vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania and a vaccine advisor to the FDA.

The immune system is complex, but fundamentally…



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