CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The new COVID-19 vaccine is now available in many pharmacies and medical offices and health officials from the CDC are recommending everyone 6 months and older to get the vaccine since cases are on the rise.
Many people have a preference in what arm they get their shots in, and one study shows getting your COVID-19 booster in the same arm you got your previous shot could add more immunity.
- Dr. Charles Bregier, emergency medicine physician with Novant Health
- A study published in Ebiomedicine
WHAT WE FOUND
Scientists in Germany looked at health data for 303 people who got the mRNA vaccine followed by a booster shot. Antibodies were measured two weeks after receiving the second shot.
According to the study, the number of protective killer T cells, which help destroy the COVID-19 virus, was higher in 67% of people who got both shots in the same arm, compared to 43% of people who got it in different arms.
"It's thought that perhaps when you use the same arm and the same kind of vaccine or medication drains to the same lymph nodes in that arm it's gonna cause more of an exaggerated response in the lymph nodes," Bregier said.
Bregier said this effect may help people who have a harder time with immune response if they get the vaccine in the same arm. However, he said the study only looked at 300 people so its findings can’t be generalized to apply to everyone. In the end, he suggests whatever you are comfortable with, you should do.
"Most of the antibody response and immunity levels by getting in the opposite arm are the same they just noted a difference in two of the many components of the antibody response, seemed to get a better response when the same arm is used," Bregier said. " I would not suggest one thing or the other because people have a lot of their own reasons why."
Bregier said he would be curious to see if further studies replicate the same result. But he said, it’s far more important to just get the vaccine than to debate which arm it should go in.
Either way, you will gain immunity, and whether you go with your right arm or your left arm, you’ll get a leg up on the virus.
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