Return to University Health's Homepage.

COVID-19 Q&A: Boosters and the immune system

New evidence is emerging about the extended protection from COVID-19 we get through boosters (it’s not just about antibodies!). University Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bryan Alsip talks about how our complex and mysterious immune system works, harnessing vaccines and boosters to fight future infection threats. He also provides a BA.2 update and a discussion of the latest CDC masking guidelines.

Some of the background supporting this discussion include:

A booster shot of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines prompts the body to make a much wider variety of antibodies, giving good protection against even very different COVID-19 variants, according to this recent study.

Another study found that people still have T cell protection against the SARS coronavirus that killed 800 people in 2003, giving us an idea of how long the body may be able to mount some kind of defense against disease.

And another examining B cells shows the vaccines provide greater protection than natural immunity conferred by the virus itself.

Questions & Time Stamps

00:00 What are some reasons people may not be getting their COVID-19 booster?

00:48 If my antibody count has dropped, does that mean my immunity has waned?

01:34 How does a booster increase protection? Does it just give us more antibodies?

02:13 Besides antibodies, what are some other parts of our immune system?

03:18 For how long after a vaccination are we protected by these B cells or T cells?

04:29 How much will I be protected from future COVID-19 variants – like BA.2 – by being up to date and boosted?

05:14 Are we seeing BA.2 in Bexar County?

05:46 I’ve already had COVID-19. How does being up to date and boosted compare to natural immunity from a COVID-19 infection?

06:41 What happens if you are not boosted and catch COVID-19 in a breakthrough infection, compared to if you are up to date?

07:24 Why does the CDC now recommend longer intervals between shots in the COVID-19 vaccine series?

08:43 What do the new CDC masking recommendations mean for our community?

09:36 Do the new CDC masking recommendations apply to everyone?

Contact media relations logo.
Contact Media Relations
Call 210-358-2335 or email us for more information about University Health news.
View other related news by: