CLEVELAND, Ohio – Health officials are urging older adults to get their second COVID-19 booster.

“Two main reasons: awareness and access. I think we have done a great job with the initial vaccine in terms of awareness with seniors and also access. That has changed with the booster,” said Ardeshir Hashmi, MD, section chief of geriatric medicine for Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Hashmi said he believes more needs to be done to explain why another booster is necessary. Booster effectiveness wanes over time and older adults don’t have as strong of an immune system. For those worried about side effects, the second booster is similar to the first, so they share the same risks.

Those who are vulnerable should wear a mask in public and social distance, along with getting the booster.

“Same measure, just consistency of those measures, wearing your mask, hand washing. We have seen that with the rates of the common flu, influenza have dramatically went down, and a lot of it was because of these great public health safety practices that everyone was on board and doing, and I think that doesn’t stop here,” he said.

For the older adults who struggle with accessibility, such as a lack of access to the internet for scheduling, Dr. Hashmi recommends having a loved one help.