P aul Sax is an infectious-disease physician and professor at Harvard Medical School. Even so, when Sax's kids asked him whether they should get the updated COVID vaccine this fall, he wasn't really sure what to tell them. His two children are in their 20s, healthy, and at no special risk of complications from disease. Each had recovered from COVID, and thus, he reasoned, had extra immunity on top of what they'd gotten from their prior shots. Another injection would likely cause them a day or two of unpleasant side effects, and expose them to a very small risk of heart inflammation . Would it also meaningfully lower their chances of infection or the severity of their symptoms if they did get sick? Would an extra shot reduce their minuscule odds of death? Sax admits he didn't have "iron-clad data" to back up his thinking either way. The bivalent vaccines had been authorized only on the basis of how many antibodies they produced, a useful but imperfect gauge of their positive effects—and so, even now, no one knows for sure how much real-world benefit they provide for the majority of Americans who are already shielded by vaccination and prior infection…. Read full this story
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