FAQ about COVID-19 vaccines:

Q. How do vaccines work?

A pathogen is a disease-causing organism. When our bodies encounter a pathogen, our immune systems will naturally try to fight it off by producing antibodies. There is a specific antibody made for each pathogen, and it can take time for our bodies to release the correct antibody when we encounter a new pathogen like COVID-19. The good news is that once we know how to release the correct antibody, our bodies remember how to in the future, so if we get sick with the same thing again, we might get better faster! Vaccines introduce our immune systems to a weakened or inactive antigen or the blueprint for making antigens so that we can develop the antibodies needed to fight off the illness. This means that if we encounter this pathogen in the future, we will have a less serious and quicker illness!

Q. Why do I need a booster?

Some vaccines require multiple shots in a short time frame or in a segment of time. This could be so that your body maintains antibodies for a longer period of time or so that your cells build up memory for how to produce the antibodies. Other vaccines, like influenza, are recommended seasonally as the virus changes. The CDC recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines for their age group.

Q. I've had the "old" booster.  Do I need the "new" booster?

Yes! The updated vaccine offers protection from the original virus as well as the Omicron variants.  CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 years and older receive one updated (bivalent) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they previously completed their original (monovalent) primary series.