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What you need to know about the COVID-19 booster shot

We're taking a look at the COVID booster shot. When should you take it? Will it make you sick? Will it make you test positive for COVID?

HOUSTON — Health experts are encouraging fully vaccinated people to get the COVID-19 booster sooner rather than later as the omicron variant continues to spread rapidly in the community.

However, can the extra shot make you ill or will it lead to a positive COVID test result?

Dr. Linda Yancey, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Hermann, said getting the booster shot is the best way to have maximum protection against COVID-19.

She said how someone is going to react to the booster shot is similar to how they reacted to their second dose of the vaccine.

“At this point, your immune system has seen the spike protein, it knows it’s trouble and it is going to respond. So, you’re going to get symptoms like fevers, chills, body aches,” Yancey said.

Yancey said that’s a good sign.

“A couple of days of feeling cruddy is much better than a few weeks of terrible symptoms with COVID itself,” she said.

Also, she said the booster’s reaction is different in each person. Yancey said younger people are more likely to experience side effects because of their healthy immune systems.

“Getting the booster will not cause a positive COVID test. If you get a booster and you subsequently have a positive test; you have COVID,” Yancey said.

However, she warned of getting the extra dose too soon because people won’t get the most out of the vaccine.

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“So if it’s only been three months since your original course of the vaccine; go ahead and wait that extra two to get that five-month mark because you’re going to get more benefit from the booster if you wait,” Yancey said.

She said the jury is still out on if more than one booster is needed.

She recommends people keep up with the CDC’s guidelines which can change.

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