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What's the difference between booster and 'additional' shots?

Medical experts may soon get the go ahead to recommend booster shots of the COVID19 vaccine.

ATLANTA — Changing guidance from medical experts could soon mean everyone will be eligible for a third dose of the COVID19 vaccine. 

Just a day after immunocompromised people were approved for a third shot, news circulated of a soon-to-be-announced booster.

Three days after becoming eligible, Cindy Koehler got her additional shot. 

"I have MS and numerous heart and breathing problems, all associated with MS," said Koehler. "I decided to get it and I told the doctor at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital I was gonna get it when I was there from the health care clinic and he just smiled from ear to ear and he said 'you go girl.'"

Let's take a quick moment to explain the difference between the booster shot and the additional dose for those with weakened immune systems. 

When a third shot of the COVID vaccine is given to a person with a weakened immune system, it's just called an additional shot

But when that extra shot's given to a person with a healthy immune system, then it's called a booster shot.

The idea is the third shot helps people with weakened immune systems catch up to level the protection as people with healthy immune systems.

While a booster would give folks with healthy immune systems longer-lasting protection, as data suggest the effectiveness of the vaccine can dip slightly over a lengthy period.

What one woman is saying

Semantics aside, Koehler said she's feeling fine after getting her third shot on Monday.

"It's just a sore arm, that's all it is," she explained. "Shots don't bother me, after being in the Air Force for 12 years, shots don't bother me, so getting it, I'm relieved now."

Why the relief?

"I feel a little safer going out in public. I just want to be able to get out and enjoy the area again," said Koehler with a smile. 

If another shot is to be recommended for everyone, the plan is to have people who received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, to get a booster eight months later.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine has not been approved for any additional shots.