Chicago — With the arrival of the COVID-19 booster shots, is it okay to resume pre-pandemic behavior?
According to Yahoo News, it depends. While research has shown that a person who gets the booster reduces their risk of having a bad outcome from the virus, it's still unclear exactly how much safer a boosted person is.
Scott Roberts, Yale Medicine infectious diseases physician, said he’d feel a lot more comfortable doing activities and going out after getting the shot.
“The importance of the booster is mostly to protect you, the individual getting the booster shot, from both infection and poor outcomes from that infection,” said Roberts.
But even that added protection “does not make you Superman,” said Celine Gounder, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health, adding it’s fairly unlikely someone could get a breakthrough infection after the shot.
But one’s chances of getting infected thereafter depends on how much virus is circulating in their area. The more virus that is around, the more likely one can experience a breakthrough infection. However, most people who do get a breakthrough infection will have a shorter, milder illness while a small subset may be worse off, she said.
How much the vaccines reduce one’s risk of transmitting the virus to others are among the questions still being studied, according to Yahoo News, noting the shots reduce transmission rates but don’t eliminate transmission entirely. That’s why boosted people should plan to take extra precautions when spending time around especially vulnerable individuals and the unvaccinated.
Individuals should also keep in mind that the booster’s power won’t last forever, according to the news outlet.
“Understand that what you may be able to do around that time safely is not necessarily what you’ll be able to do six months later safely — and when I say safely, I mean without getting a breakthrough infection,” stressed Gounder.