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Can getting the COVID-19 booster shot protect you from the Delta variant?

Health care officials advise getting the booster to protect against new variants of the virus.

WASHINGTON — Variants continue to lead to the COVID-19 surges across the world. Health care officials in the DMV and abroad are urging people to get boosters to protect themselves against the new waves.

But, how will the boosters help against these new mutations of the original virus?

The information with the variants and vaccines changes weekly. One of the questions we keep getting is: Do the boosters carry the information from the Delta variant?

QUESTION:

Do the vaccine boosters carry specific instructions to protect against the Delta variant?

OUR SOURCES:

ANSWER: 

This is false.

No, there are no specific instructions for the Delta Variant or any other variant in the boosters.

WHAT WE FOUND:

Both of our experts said the boosters have the instructions to fight the original coronavirus.

“No, there's not anything specific in the boosters or vaccines to combat Delta,” Dr. Moss said.

“The boosters that are now been approved for both Moderna and Pfizer are the same vaccine that you got before,” Frieman Ph.D. said.

So how do they help with the variants?

“When the levels of neutralizing antibodies in our blood are high enough, they can prevent asymptomatic infection, mild disease and so on,” Dr. Moss explained. “So, they can protect against Delta.”

“One of the things that this Delta variant does is it's able to produce more virus when it infects cells,” Frieman explained. “So you need more antibodies to protect you from that infection.”

Essentially more antibodies mean better protection. Our experts said this elevated immune response can help against Omicron, too.

But, that doesn’t mean future boosters won’t have specific instructions for Delta or Omicron in the future.

“Maybe on the order of three months or so, both Pfizer [and] Moderna have said, that's about the timeline to be able to start producing vaccines that would specifically target Omicron,” Dr. Moss finished.

We know what you’re thinking: Does this mean we will need a booster for each variant of the virus?

Our experts both said, no. According to them, future boosters could be able to cover multiple strands of the virus at once; more of a multi-valent vaccine.

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