The AtlanticThe Atlantic

Our Relationship With COVID Vaccines Is Just Getting Started

By Katherine J. Wu

29 Dec 2021 · 8 min read

Walter Barker has, since the fall of 2020, had five doses of COVID-19 vaccine. He’s already starting to ponder when he might need a sixth.

Barker, a 38-year-old office worker in New York, received his first two doses a year ago, as part of an AstraZeneca vaccine trial. But the shots, which haven’t been authorized by the FDA, couldn’t get him into some venues. Sick of having to test every time he went to a Yankees game, Barker nabbed a pair of Moderna injections in the spring. Then, when the government urged boosters, he figured he’d “rather be safe than sorry,” especially because of his Type 2 diabetes—a risk factor for severe COVID. That was vaccine No. 5. Plus, he told me, he’d also caught the actual virus between his AstraZeneca and Moderna shots.

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