Ever wonder why some vaccines require boosters and others do not?


I recently posted several messages about vaccines and what the COVID vaccine is meant to do and not do.

So many of you asked me why some vaccines work a lifetime and others do not.

Why do some never seem to need a “Booster”?

Why do some stop the complete spread of the virus and others do not?

I had to dig deep into this.

Here’s the easiest way I can answer.

Booster Vaccines

Now the answer to why some vaccinate for life and others do not is two-fold.

1 – If the virus mutates, like COVID, and influenza (flu), we get vaccinated against the ORIGINAL strains of DNA but when the virus has babies (replicates), the new strains of DNA have some of the original and some not-so-original.  Think of your children.  They are not clones of us.  They “mutated” and have new strains of DNA but also hold some of your original DNA.

This is one of the reasons children make us wonder, “Is this really my offspring?”  Well, viruses can do the same.

No pharmaceutical company has come out with a new vaccine against these COVID mutants yet, so we are stuck with the old original strain.  While it will still lessen our symptoms, any COVID variants can still spread, regardless of whether we have the vaccine or not.  We only have 100% antibodies against the original old one (if they haven’t faded yet) and not 100% against the variants.

Life-long vaccines

2 – Now let’s look at vaccines like measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Many of us got these as babies and learned to hate doctors along the way. These strains tend to last a lifetime.  Or do they?

If you are immune or inoculated against these viruses you are in great shape.  Your bodies hold the antibodies and they do not seem to disappear.

However, experts are quick to warn us that our public health safety system relies on folks getting these vaccinations.  Say, for example, that there is an outbreak of measles.  This is a highly contagious virus.  In fact, 95% of the population must be vaccinated to ensure that our health care system doesn’t get overwhelmed with a measles outbreak.  But if there was a major outbreak, would the CDC require another shot?  Time will tell.

Interesting to note are 2 fairly recent vaccines to come on the market…

Hepatitis B:  A vaccine that is given in 2 doses.  However, as a medical provider, I had to show proof that I had the Hepatitis B antibodies in my system in order to work at hospitals and clinics.  Many of my physician assistant students also had the vaccine but it “didn’t take” and they had no antibodies so had to go back and get the shots again.  It “faded” as many antibodies will do.

Chickenpox vaccine:  You cannot get shingles if you have had chickenpox.  So, with the chickenpox vaccines, “Are we irradicating shingles?”.  In other words, as the first children (1995) to receive chicken pox become 65, will they no longer need the shingles shot? Or will the chicken pox antibodies wane as well? Again. Time will tell. No one can give me a straight answer.


So there you have it.  My guess, is COVID will either stop mutating and eventually wear itself out or we will find a combo FLU/COVID shot that you take every year in late fall to lessen your symptoms in the winter months.

Will a booster be needed again in the spring? or just once a year? It depends.  If the pharmaceutical companies can make more money with a booster, then you may see that coming your way.  If the same companies make more money selling antivirals (like PAXLOVID) then you will not see a booster or newer version of the COVID vaccine and PAXLOVID or another anti-COVID medication will get made.

“Oh Suzanne, that can’t be true.” Pharmaceutical companies have our backs.  Then why didn’t we get the mutated vaccine against Omicron when we knew 9 months in advance that it was coming our way from across the world?  I’m just saying…we get new flu variant vaccines every year.

For more information about “behind-the-scenes” healthcare, join us in our emails. If you’re a caregiver, let’s get you the Caregiver Starter Guide to give you a taste of what caregiving is all about. I’ll send it over when you sign up for our emails. 


Articles used for this study.

Harvard News: Breaking Down Boosters https://hms.harvard.edu/news/breaking-down-boosters

Cedars Sinai: Why Some Vaccines Last A Lifetime and Others Don’t  https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/why-vaccine-boosters.html

Share this on your social media platforms.

Suzanne FiscelIa, PA-C, BCPA

I know exactly what it's like to feel like you just can't keep up. Working a full-time job, raising 3 children as a single mom, and taking care of her aging mother. But after feeling lost, overwhelmed, and guilty for spreading herself too thin, I saw all her patients and their caregivers going through the same thing.I learned how to put simple systems in place to keep my life free from distractions, find free time to do the things I wanted, and enjoy my family along the way. These simple step-by-step solutions have been shared with my patients, friends, and family.They too have found organization, confidence, peace, and freedom. Now we all live the life we love while caregiving! Come join us!

Hi I'm Suzanne

And my mission is to find you practical easy-to-follow solutions for everyday caregiving. Find out more HERE.

spiral bound book 150 x 150


Join the thousands of caregivers who want organization and tips straight to your inbox.