Illinois health officials are asking some residents to roll up their sleeves and get a second COVID-19 booster shot as cases rise around the state.
An expert group convened by the World Health Organization said there may be some benefit in giving a second booster dose of coronavirus vaccine to the most vulnerable people.
During a discussion sponsored by AARP Illinois, Amaal Tokars, the interim director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said unless you have been living in a cave, we have all been exposed to the virus.
“Intentionally choosing to stay up-to-date and get that booster, in combination with our exposure, gives us a powerful prevention of serious illness and hospitalization,” Tokars said.
IDPH reports eight Illinois counties have risen to the high risk level of transmission, areas that include the cities of Peoria, Rockford and Champaign.
The medical consensus so far is that there hasn’t been enough research on how much protection a fourth dose can offer.
“What we know from immunology is that if you give another booster, you will see a temporary increase in the neutralizing antibodies,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told CNBC. “But what we’ve also seen is that these neutralizing antibodies will wane quite rapidly.”
IDPH is recommending the booster for people over the age of 50 and those with weak immune systems. The shot should be taken four months after the first booster shot.
Paula Basta, director of the Illinois Department on Aging, said the second booster is readily available.
“Your local pharmacies have the boosters,” Basta said. “Your local public health department has them, and of course, we always want you to make sure that you are talking to your primary physician.”
This article was originally posted on Illinois health officials following WHO guidance on second booster shot