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When do I need a booster shot and does it matter for travel?

It is 2022, and although COVID-19 is still around, we have more ways than ever to deal with it. With vaccines being rolled out widely and stringent testing processes in place, we had been able to maintain a lid on major outbreaks of COVID-19. However, in the most recent months, things have changed. The Omicron variant has surfaced, and it is bypassing the usual double-jabbed immunity. As a result, booster shots are being recommended to ensure complete protection. Research from Pfizer shows that a booster shot after you have gotten your initial two shots could be beneficial in remaining COVID free and limiting the spread of the new variant.

Although not much is known about omicron as of yet, preliminary reports suggest it is apparently more infectious than previous variants. This stands to have major implications for travel because it would translate into a more rapid spread of the virus and overwhelm healthcare systems. A booster shot can enhance immunity and help avoid a scenario of a massive new wave of cases.

Travel Requirements

Travel guidelines tend to differ from one country to another. Most locations will require you to be tested before departure and take a pre-booked Day 2 Lateral Flow Test or RT PCR test after your arrival.

After you arrive at your location and take either the Lateral Flow Antigen Test or the RT PCR test, based on the rules of your destination, you may also be required to self-isolate until your results are back or verified. For travel rules to the UK, check the official government website.

If the results are positive, you will have to quarantine for at least 10 days. You can choose to get tested early on day 7 to exit quarantine provided that you test negative and do not display COVID-related symptoms.

These rules generally work in conjunction with vaccination. You need to be double jabbed with an approved vaccine and have an LFT or PCR test certificate as proof of vaccination. If you’re not vaccinated, you may either be denied entry or required to undertake more stringent testing and quarantine.

As of yet, a booster shot is not required for travel purposes. However, it can reduce the risk of infection and help you avoid quarantine. It is, therefore, advised that you do get a booster shot if you can.

Booster shots

A booster shot will offer greater protection as you travel. This is particularly important when you are at public spaces, like an airport, during your travel. The aeroplane is a closed environment, and it can get crowded, which makes it difficult to avoid close contact. When coupled with the more infectious nature of the Omicron variant, your prior immunity may not be able to hold off the virus. A booster shot can help increase your level of immunity and keep you protected. Even if you do end up contracting the Omicron variant, the booster will keep you from getting seriously ill.

Circulating antibodies in the body are the first line of defence when one gets infected with COVID-19. A booster shot increases the defence that these initial antibodies can provide. The FDA has allowed the use of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to be used for boosters.

If you have been previously infected with COVID-19, there may be some lasting immunity from it, but you can still get the new Omicron variant. Getting a booster shot is the best way to avoid getting infected again.

What’s Ahead

After our previous vaccination drives, we were beginning to see things getting back to as they were. Unfortunately, the new Omicron variant has upended a lot of that progress and is resulting in ever-higher numbers of infections. Although hospitalisations are not as high as before, the record number of cases still means that enough people are getting seriously ill to the point that the healthcare infrastructure is getting strained. There is, however, still reason for optimism. It has been determined that booster shots provide a high enough level of immunity to protect against the Omicron variant. This way, we can still travel and move about without risking our health. If we are to go back to normal, we will need to follow health safety guidelines and get booster shots collectively.

Visit IQ Doctor website for coronavirus home test kits.

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