Avera Medical Minute: What’s the difference between a third dose of COVID vaccine and a booster?

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Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 10:47 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - New COVID case numbers continue to climb in the Sioux Falls area -- as health officials continue to urge those who have not been vaccinated to get the shot.

Those same health officials are also trying to clear up some confusion as to the difference between a third shot of COVID-19 vaccine and a booster shot.

We spoke with Doctor David Basel with Avera Health to get some updated information about the pandemic.

Dr. David Basel: We do continue to see an increase in cases over the last week or two. The numbers continue to kind of slowly climb so it doesn’t appear we’re seeing a true peak yet.

Brian Allen: What are the hospital numbers looking like? Do you have those off the top of your head?

Dr. David Basel: Yeah so system-wide Avera continues to have about 80 individuals in the hospital that are COVID-related right now. So certainly not up near the 300+ that we had last November but up from say 60 where they were a week...week-and-a-half ago.

Brian Allen: Are you still fearful that we’re heading towards a peak? That we’re not there yet in this specific surge? Or do you think we may have dodged something?

Dr. David Basel: I do think that we will continue a little bit higher from where we are. I don’t think we’ll hit near the peak that we saw last year. But we are anticipating and preparing that numbers will go up to at least 100 or greater.

Brian Allen: What’s the difference between getting a booster and a third shot? Because to me it sounds like the same thing.

Dr. Davd Basel: So the differences between trying to get that initial primary series to get the antibody levels high enough to be effective initially. so in immunosuppressed individuals, some of those people never did get enough of an immune response to get that initial protection up where it needed to be. So those are the individuals that get a third dose one month after their second dose and that can happen both with Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. So that’s the third dose initially in immunosuppressed individuals. Just getting it up high enough initially. as opposed to a true booster which is over time the rest of us...we got out levels up high enough but they just slowly came down over time and they need to be brought back up to where they were. And so the difference is in immunosuppressed people they never got up high enough. In the rest of us, they were high enough but slowly decline over time. and then you get a booster at six months or greater.

Brian Allen: Delta variant still a problem for you? Is that primarily where the issue lies right now?

Dr. David Basel: Yeah, pretty much all we’re seeing these days is the Delta variant. And it’s essentially crowded out all the other variants cause it just spread so fast there’s no room for the other variants. So it’s pretty much all delta right now.

You can get updated information on COVID-19 by going to Avera-dot-org.

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