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Wagamaga OP t1_j8dgrx0 wrote

COVID-19 booster shots appear to benefit folks 50 and older but less so for younger people, a new study suggests.

For the study, researchers ran a statistical analysis using death rates from COVID, and looked at the vaccines' effectiveness in protecting people from dying of the disease. While they were found to be very effective among older people, the study noted that boosters made little difference in younger folks because they're least likely to die from the infection anyway.

Senior researcher Bernard Black is a law professor at Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law in Chicago who specializes in health policy. He pointed out that the study only looked at deaths from COVID and did not consider infections the vaccine may have prevented or made less severe.

Still, for younger people the booster may be of less benefit, he suggested.

"There isn't evidence of a [death] benefit in younger people," Black said.

Although millions of Americans have gotten the initial doses of a COVID vaccine, only about 16% of those eligible for booster shots have gotten them, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the COVID vaccine and keep up with boosters.

With the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration poised to recommend yearly COVID shots, Black believes the message should be focused on folks in their 60s and older, for whom the protection against dying is greatest.

"We don't know enough to know whether to recommend an annual COVID shot below age 60," he said. "From everything I know, above a 60, sure; in your 50s, probably. Below that, I'd say we just don't know."

Maybe, Black said, if public health messaging said, "You are someone who really needs it," more people who really need the booster would get it.


dustymoon1 t1_j8di5qt wrote

That is always the case because as you get older, one's immune system gets weaker and slower.


johnleeshooker t1_j8dq2qg wrote

Your immune system takes a hit with every covid infection as well.


Mmedical t1_j8duoil wrote

Are you suggesting that a COVID infection somehow inherently weakens the immune system or that the person themselves are left less resilient after having a serious illness?


dustymoon1 t1_j8dvm6y wrote

It does. It actually is considered an immune system virus.


Mmedical t1_j8e0uy3 wrote

COVID causes a dysregulated immune and inflammatory response during the infection but to my knowledge does not leave the immune system impaired like say, HIV. Do you have sources I could read?


phred14 t1_j8dxvr2 wrote

Interesting. I've read information pointing in this direction, but hadn't heard it stated as a conclusion.


KaneXX12 t1_j8eofco wrote

These sources do point to an association between COVID-19 and increased risk of various autoimmune conditions, however, this is a far cry from conclusively saying “your immune system takes a hit with every covid infection as well.”

And it isn’t considered an “immune system virus”. That would imply it actively targets the immune system. There is evidence that it can infect certain immune cells like macrophages, but it is considered a respiratory system virus because that is the primary tissue it attacks (as opposed to an actual immune system virus like HIV, which specifically targets immune cells and spreads throughout the lymphatic system).

Not trying to be dismissive, but there is not enough research yet to fully characterize the effect on the immune system, or how long such effects might last, and claiming conclusively one way or the other is irresponsible.


johnleeshooker t1_j8dwr7n wrote

In 30 years or so, after x number of infections from a constantly mutating virus, our children may never forgive us this small moment in history.


mb_500- t1_j8e7dtk wrote

Your comment is such a gut punch. My son, contracted CoVid at age 7. He was incredibly sick with MIS-c and long CoVid for 8 months following. He contracted it again, 9 months after the initial infection and again, long CoVid for months following. His immune system was absolutely devastated and he caught everything. The vaccine wasn’t approved for him yet when he got it the first time and I’ll never forgive myself for not keeping him home. We failed our children and we don’t even understand the price they may have to pay years down the road.


johnleeshooker t1_j8e9ooy wrote

I didn’t mean it as such. I too have family members and friends that are immunocompromised. Hopefully it doesn’t play out that way. Keep following the science.


SirFiletMignon t1_j8dpmt0 wrote

We've been seeing that many other long term symptoms can occur after a covid infection. I'm hoping to see a study looking into those and booster protection (if any).


FTR t1_j8drwxs wrote

A study that looks at only death but not long COVID for young people is essentially not a study.


Generallyawkward1 t1_j8e1jzj wrote

I think everyone can agree that the elderly 60 and older should get a scheduled treatment of the vaccine until more data can come from the other age groups.


orbitaldragon t1_j8fduet wrote

The issue here is this study is only look at death tolls. There are other issues associated with getting COVID that are completely ignored here.


Prinzka t1_j8g5eu0 wrote

What were you on when you wrote that title?


SerialStateLineXer t1_j8i3gwk wrote

You got the title wrong. The numbers you cite in the title are relative mortality risk, not the reduction in risk of mortality. So people age 60-79 were 27% as likely to die (i.e. 73% less likely), not 27% less likely (73% as likely), as implied by your title.