“In the beginning, when the coronavirus was new, the quest for a vaccine was simple,” Carolyn Y. Johnson writes over at The Washington Post about the fall Covid booster. “Everyone started out susceptible to the virus. Shots brought spectacular protection.But the next chapters of life with the virus —- and the choice of booster shots for the fall and beyond —- will be complicated by the layers of immunity that now ripple through the population, laid down by past infections and vaccinations. When it comes to viral infections, past is prologue: The version of a virus to which we’re first exposed can dictate how we respond to later variants and, maybe, how well vaccines work. It’s a phenomenon known by the forbidding name of original antigenic sin, and, in the case of the coronavirus, it prompts a constellation of questions. Are our immune systems stuck still revving up defenses against a version of the virus that has vanished? Will updated booster shots that are designed to thwart variants be much better than the original vaccine? How often will we be reinfected? Is there a better way to broaden immunity? The answers to those questions will influence our long-term relationship with the coronavirus —- and the health of millions of people. …The quest to unravel these riddles underscores the seemingly unending complexity of the battle against a new pathogen. When the virus emerged, no one had encountered SARS-CoV-2 before, so our immune systems started in pretty much the same vulnerable spot -— what scientists call ‘naive.’ Now, people have been infected, vaccinated, boosted, reinfected and boosted again —- in varying combinations. People’s immune systems are on slightly different learning curves, depending on when they were infected or vaccinated, and with what variants or vaccines. Should you get a second coronavirus booster? Here’s what to know. ‘There are no cookie-cutter answers here,’ said John P. Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medicine. ‘An omicron infection after vaccination doesn’t mean you’re not going to get another one a bit further down the road. How long is a bit further down the road?'” Carolyn Y. Johnson, “Your first brush with coronavirus could affect how a fall booster works,” The Washington Post.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder