Dear Doctor. roaches, Two weeks ago my friend got COVID, a week before she was scheduled for her second booster shot. She is 55 years old. She believes the second booster isn’t necessary now because she’s effectively immunized. I understand that the second booster shot is recommended three to four months after recovery. Can you help me with that? A mutual friend who is immunocompromised feels unsafe around her unless she is “fully empowered.” I feel trapped between two good friends.
Recent evidence has shown that, at the time of writing, when the Omicron variant is prevalent in North America, people who received three doses of the vaccine do not receive a large boost of immunity from contracting COVID. Your friend who had COVID is at about the same risk of getting COVID again as she was two weeks ago. She is still highly protected from serious illness (causing hospitalization) and death after three doses of the vaccine (compared to an unvaccinated person or even a person who only received two doses), but she can surely catch another case of COVID. A second booster shot (four doses total) appears to reduce the risk of infection by half and the risk of a serious infection by about 80%, so at this point I would still recommend a fourth dose for a person like your friend who has COVID. It’s reasonable to wait three months after infection, but she could get the vaccine sooner once she recovers from COVID.
Unfortunately, no vaccine plus infection combination is 100% effective in preventing another case, so those with compromised immune systems must remain very vigilant. People at higher risk — like your immunocompromised friend — should ask about treatment options if they test positive for COVID. Many people get positive test results at home and don’t tell their doctor in time to get treatment early, when it’s most effective.
Finally, your mutual friend with the weakened immune system should consider Evusheld, an injection that offers good protection for six months.
Dear Doctor. roaches, My 92 year old boyfriend is a huge H3O supporter and supporter. He has pills that he adds to plain water to make H3O. Is this really the case and does it rid the body of free radicals as it claims? He’s very fit for his age, so I listen when he comes up with stuff like that. I hope to age as successfully as he has.
All liquid water has a small number of ions because a tiny fraction of the water molecules present spontaneously break down to form H+ ions (protons) and OH-(hydroxyl) ions. Both are present in neutral water at a rate of 1 in 10 million. This extra hydrogen ion forms a transient (tiny fraction of a second) bond with regular water, forming H3O+, or hydronium. Adding more acid to water creates more H3O+ – but still in very, very low concentrations (pH is one way to quantify the amount of acid in water). It’s just the chemistry of water. Nothing will make H3O+ last longer. There are no health benefits associated with water that is slightly more acidic or alkaline. I’m afraid your friend, healthy as he may be, has fallen victim to a hoax, similar to others like “gel water”, hexagonal water and H3O2.
dr Roach regrets that he cannot reply to individual letters, but will include them in the column whenever possible. Readers can email questions to [email protected]