Thursday, September 16, 2021

Advice on third booster shots: Hold off and take anti-body tests

Happy Yom Kippur -- Sept. 16, 2021 - I'm fasting - my wife hid all the bags of chips and that's all I want to eat. Tonight will be hog heaven without the hogs. Many Jews only use daity to break the fast and I've got my eyes on the herring in cream sauce.

[Added Sept 17 - See the anon comment for more advice with an good link to a discussion on boosters --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKJkC3MLcDg.]

From a colleague from 50 years ago:

Norm

My son is a biologist doing cutting edge genetics research. He advises us to hold off on a booster until they develop one for the upcoming variants that will avoid the mRNA protection. 
Breakthrough for Delta means you can catch it if you have the mRNA in your body, but it will not harm you.
This protection will not wane after 8 months
The current push for boosters vs Delta is a sales pitch.

Pete Farruggio, PhD
Associate Professor, Bilingual Education (retired)
University of Texas RGV

Pete also sent this discouraging news from this link: https://tinyurl.com/2csx29at

Covid cases rise to winter levels

History repeats. As with the 1918-20 flu epidemic, the waning of the first wave of viral spread  induced a premature relaxing of caution (e.g. reopening unsafe schools), which caused a second larger wave. This pattern caused a third wave through 1920. Instead  of vaccines, what ended the epidemic was the killing off of the more susceptible, as in previous plagues (herd immunity).

I don't want to be one of the susceptibles and was ready to take the booster in 3 weeks. But what if there is a new vax that provides more protection from variables in a few months. Do you get a 4th shot? My doc says hold off.

So I'm rethinking getting the third booster shot. Pete's advice correlates to that of my primary doc. Friends have been to him in the past few days and here is what he told them:

Our doctor does not believe in over vaccinating. He is testing for my antibody levels. When or if they are low then he recommends the booster. If they reconfigure the vaccine to deal with the variants then we can have a further discussion about boosters  ... from a friend

We use the same doctor - for the past 20 years and have gotten many of our friends to go to him too, so there is a lot of trust. Last spring he told us to not get the shingles shot yet because he felt we might need a booster in the fall. My friends did the antibody test and found they had sufficient immunity at this point. Doc says retest in 3 months. 

[ MORE info from patient with same doctor - Sept 17 --- Our doctor told us that each lab determines the antibody count in their own way so you can`t compare numbers from lab to lab. The lab where MY results will come from has 200 as the magic number of normal. Anything OVER 250 will just come back as over 250 but no further number will be given. I asked him about the benefit of having a LOT of antibodies--way higer than normal--from getting the booster now.  He said that a lot of learning is going on now about all of these things but one thing that MAY be true is that too many antibodies could interfere with the T cells and keep them from being effective at what they need to do. He said that it MAY be the case that LESS is more in this situation! He also said that if the booster was comprised with more ability to fight the Delta variant than it might be wise to get the booster sooner, but since it is NOT comprised any differently than what we already have in our systems you are not getting more of an ability to fight Delta (as long as your antibody count is normal). We will wait another 3 months and retest. When our number goes below normal is when we will take the booster. ]

Interesting. One of the right wing criticisms of Biden and vax mandates is that those who had COVID have antibodies too --- and they argue that they should not be forced to be vaxed. There is a point and I wonder if you present an anti-body test result, that counts as vaxed.

There are outbreaks in Israel which is highly vaxed with third shots. Covid seems like a raging fire which no matter what we do will find places to burn until it burns itself out --- herd immunity. 

Look at the south as cases begin to come down after their wave and now we in the northeast escaped, we will be facing a surge, based on back to work and open schools. 

You know the case they make for those who are vaxed as being safe from hospitalization or getting real sick even if you get it -- it will be mild. But I don't even want a mild case due to stories of long covid which hits 30% in some cases. I know people who are still very affected even a year and a half later. I don't need to spend the rest of my life battling issues I didn't need to battle.

7 comments:

  1. We don't yet know what level antibodies is "low" or doesn't protect for only infection vs disease. Your T cells and B cells must also have a big role. So we assume higher is better but what level is only guessing.

    So if high Delta in your area wear surgical masks inside schools a bit longer until more get vax/"natural" immunity.

    If you are over 60 maybe should get 3rd shot but waiting for more data in about a month seems smart. Did you get moderna? That 4 week interval or maybe bigger dose seems too be better.

    42min in to UCSF rounds listen to Monica and others perspective.

    https://youtu.be/cKJkC3MLcDg

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  2. There is also another data that just came out to no5 take 3 booster because it does not protect

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  3. There is also another data that just came out to no5 take 3 booster because it does not protect

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  4. There is new data that says 3 booster ineffective..best to weigh all options in and hope we are all protected

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    1. This is not hard core fact. Pfizer seems to provide less protection but my research is talking to people who have taken antibody tests, including those who had covid who seem to have less longer term protection but it depends on how severe their case was -- the worse it was the more antibodies -- makes sense -- so if mild or non-symptomatic -- they have less protection. The problem right now with third dose according to my doc is that overstim of the immune system by creating too many antibodies may suppress t-cell production -- this might have even happened to people who got bad cases originally and the body over stimulated and in essence attacked itself -- theories of long-term covid -- body was damaged as much by virus as by response.

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  5. The left (both progressive & libs), keeps saying that the call by many citizens for the CDC and other govt authorities to recognize natural immunity to obtain a travel passport, keep one's job, or attend college, etc., is a right wing idea. But one can be of any political persuasion to find this makes sense.
    Many experts in immunology have been saying all along -- much to the chagrin of the Biden admin trying to shove the vax down every last American's throat -- that if you were infected with Covid and recuperated, you will have robust immunity against it. Israeli scientists confirmed this recently in a study that showed natural immunity is 13X stronger than vaccine immunity. In the EU ppl can get a "passport" either if they were vaxxed or if they can show they have had Covid and recovered. Natural immunity is respected there.American officials very likely have bog investments in Pfizer & Moderna and are making out like bandits. Why else would they go to these extreme lengths to force ppl into getting the vax when natural immunity offers more protection?

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  6. As usual you cite "research" - Many immunologists etc --- give us links.
    But I do agree on the idea that people who have covid have antibodies -- but a blanket comment - did they have it in March 2020 or March 2021?
    I believe in antibody tests -- to me that would suffice ---
    Yes to Pfizer and Moderna making big bucks -- don't pin this only on Dems -- Trump handed them billions --- but I'm not complaining -- it got us a vax.
    Imagine you would have said the same for polio. somone made money I bet.

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