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Naturally acquired immunity and booster shots: What dental teams need to know

CDA addresses top COVID-19 vaccine questions related to recent public health orders

September 09, 2021 2638
Man with mask and gloved hands holds vial that reads

Quick Summary:

Learn why COVID-19 vaccination, even in individuals who have already had the disease, is more effective than naturally acquired immunity at preventing infection or reinfection, and get the latest information on the booster shot rollout plans, including when the shots will be available and who will first be eligible to receive them.

California dentists and their staff are voicing two primary concerns related to the recent public health COVID-19 vaccination orders: (1) Why are individuals required to submit proof of vaccination if they can submit proof of COVID-19 antibodies, and (2) what is going on with COVID-19 booster shots? 

CDA today updated its Vaccine Confidence Toolkit to address members’ questions using the latest research and recommendations from the leading epidemiologists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. 

Natural immunity, reinfection, booster shot rollout

CDA encourages members to read the full update in the Vaccine Confidence Toolkit, but the key points are:

  • A CDC study released last month shows that individuals who already had COVID-19 are twice as likely to get infected again if they remain unvaccinated.
  • The CDC study concludes that “COVID-19 vaccines offer better protection than natural immunity alone and that vaccines, even after prior infection, help prevent reinfections.”
  • New data suggest vaccine effectiveness against infection decreases slightly over time, especially in the face of emerging variants that are more contagious, such as the delta variant.
  • The CDC and FDA last month announced that adults who received their second vaccine at least eight months ago will be offered a third shot, or booster. For now, the anticipated final booster recommendations will apply only to individuals who have received a Pfizer vaccine.
  • The Biden Administration is aiming to have boosters available to eligible individuals beginning Sept. 20, but official recommendations have yet to be published by the FDA and CDC.
  • Initial doses of the COVID-19 booster will go to individuals who were vaccinated earliest in the vaccine rollout and are at the highest risk.
  • Once individuals are eligible, they can contact their primary care physician or set up an appointment at a local pharmacy to receive their third dose.
  •  The need for a booster shot is not unusual for many vaccines. For example, polio and hepatitis vaccines can require 3-4 doses for full efficacy. 
  • Health officials anticipate that vaccination requirements will eventually be amended to include a third dose as part of a new definition of “fully vaccinated.” 

CDA FAQ on state public health order regularly updated

CDA will continue to update members on how the new vaccine regimen will impact public health orders and voluntary office vaccination mandates. Dentists are encouraged to read CDA’s FAQ on the state public health order pertaining to COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandates and to use all resources available in the Vaccine Confidence Toolkit.