The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have authorized and recommended a second COVID-19 booster shot for people 50 and over and those with immunocompromising conditions.
The Allergy & Asthma Network encourages people with asthma to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 “as soon as possible,” as long as they aren’t allergic to the vaccine itself or any of its ingredients.
Some important details about these recommendations include the following:
If you already had your first booster shot, you may be wondering what experts say about whether additional boosters are effective for people with asthma. The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America states, “People who are unvaccinated and not boosted are at the higher risk of getting COVID-19, spreading it to other people, and becoming hospitalized and/or dying of the virus.” The organization encourages people who have not been boosted to do so as soon as possible.
The CDC’s list of underlying medical conditions explicitly lists asthma among the conditions that put people at higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about your eligibility for an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose.
“I took the second COVID booster shot the day before yesterday,” wrote one MyAsthmaTeam member. “Doing fine, but it did make me very tired and achy.” Another wrote, “I got my booster shot and flu shot. VERY important to keep vaccinated.”
Research indicates that antibody levels are likely to decrease over time, so getting booster doses at recommended intervals is necessary — even for vaccinated people who made antibodies after their initial shots.
Simply making antibodies does not always translate to complete immunity from COVID-19 infection. The findings from recent studies, however, are promising. In one study of immunocompromised people with cancer, researchers tested levels of antibodies (proteins the immune system makes to help destroy a target). In this case, the antibodies were to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-1), made in response to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
On average, antibodies against the coronavirus were identified after the second vaccine dose in about 90 percent of the study’s 515 participants. These results are considered a good sign that vaccines using mRNA — which include those by Moderna and Pfizer — for COVID-19 can trigger strong responses, even in people with compromised immune systems. It’s evidence that vaccines can protect people at higher risk of severe infections.
One study of 253 people with severe asthma, most of whom were on biologic treatment, found that the vaccinations were safe: Most study participants experienced no side effects, and those who did reported only minor effects. The study authors wrote, “The negligible proportion of patients reporting side effects and the absence of asthma exacerbations are relevant to support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in severe asthma patients worldwide.”
According to the CDC, getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself and slow the spread of the virus. If you are unvaccinated due to immunodeficiency, an autoimmune disease, or cancer treatment or because you are an organ transplant recipient, this new research should give you confidence to speak with your health care provider about when a COVID-19 vaccine would be right for you.
On MyAsthmaTeam, the social support network for people with asthma and their loved ones, members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand.
Are you considering getting a second booster shot? Have you discussed any concerns with your health care provider? Share your insights in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.