In August, the CDC recommended a third dose of the two-dose vaccine series (i.e. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines) for individuals with moderately to severely compromised immune systems. Individuals who are immunocompromised often do not develop a protective level of immunity from just two doses, so a third dose is necessary to achieve protection.
In October, the CDC recommended Covid-19 vaccine boosters for a broader group of people based upon age, underlying medical conditions, and occupation. A booster dose of vaccine is for individuals with a normal immune system who developed protective levels of immunity from the first two doses of vaccine, but whose protection has waned with time. The recommendation of a booster dose now applies to all three vaccines approved or authorized for use in the U.S.
There is growing evidence that protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from Covid-19 wanes with time in those who have received the primary series of the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This reduction in protection occurs particularly in older individuals. A booster dose of vaccine stimulates the immune system to reestablish protective levels of immunity.
At this time, the definition of "fully vaccinated" has not changed. Individuals who are two weeks past receiving both doses of a two-dose vaccine series, or two weeks past receiving the first dose of a one-dose vaccine series, are considered fully vaccinated.
Multiple variants of the Covid-19 virus that seem to spread more easily and quickly have been identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. The UK variant was reported in the U.S. at the end of December 2020, and the South Africa and Brazil variants at the end of January 2021.
Currently, the most prevalent variant in the U.S. is the delta variant, which was first detected in the U.S. in March 2021. The CDC classifies the delta variant as a variant of concern due to its increased transmissibility and severity of disease.
Recent studies show that current vaccines remain highly effective at preventing serious illness and death, even when infected with the delta variant. The current vaccines also significantly reduce the risk of getting infected with the delta variant. However, when someone who is fully vaccinated does get infected with the delta variant, they can spread the virus to others. In this way, infection with the delta variant is different from previous variants.
The CDC is working to monitor the spread of identified variants, characterize emerging viral variants, and expand its ability to find new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
The CDC has said If you’ve been fully vaccinated and boosted, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic. The University System of Georgia encourages people to wear masks based on their preference and assessment of personal risk. You may also monitor your community to determine if you are in an area of potentially substantial or high transmission.
Vaccine efficacy is how well the vaccine works to prevent the disease for which it is designed. Covid-19 vaccines are effective against severe disease and death from variants of the virus that causes Covid-19 currently circulating in the United States. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild.
The CDC continues to monitor the spread of identified variants, characterize emerging viral variants, and expand its ability to find new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
To protect yourself as well as the community, individuals who have not yet received vaccinations on the FDA or WHO lists are encouraged to get an FDA-authorized vaccination once they arrive on the Georgia Tech campus. These individuals should work with a medical professional to understand the best vaccine option for them and can do so by scheduling an appointment at Georgia Tech’s vaccine clinic.
No. If you have received a vaccine on the WHO-approved list, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that you receive an additional vaccine from the FDA-authorized list.