SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — The CDC has announced updated COVID-19 boosters will be available in the coming weeks for Americans over the age of 12.
The new boosters from Pfizer and Moderna will be bivalent. They’ll target both the original virus and Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. This is good news because BA.5 is the dominant strain here in the U.S. It’s responsible for almost 90% of new COVID-19 cases. Right now, the U.S. averages close to 100,000 new cases a day and just over 460 daily deaths due to COVID-19.
The government has purchased just over 170 million updated booster doses. But, the FDA still needs to examine how well the shots work and review the safety data. I expect that the new shots will do an even better job at preventing infection transmission than our current boosters. I’m hopeful that antibody levels will last longer. Research indicates antibodies from our current boosters start declining a few months after getting the shot.
Right now, everyone aged 5 and up can get one COVID-19 booster dose after completing their primary series. People aged 50 and older and those who are immunocompromised can get a second COVID-19 booster shot.
In my opinion, if you’re eligible, you should not wait for the updated booster. And, here’s why. That extra shot of an mRNA vaccine still increases protection, especially against severe disease, hospitalization and death. I stress that anyone who is elderly, has a weakened immune system, or has diabetes, asthma, or chronic lung disease should get the booster as soon as possible. That’s because they’re at a much higher risk of severe complications.
On top of that, we don’t know exactly when these new vaccines will be ready for the public. It could be in a few short weeks or much later. Plus, if availability is limited once approved, it’s possible that the elderly will be first in line to get the updated shots.
So, again, if you’re eligible, get boosted now. Don’t gamble that all will be well if you get infected. COVID-19 cases are still high in the U.S. and there is no downside to getting the shots now.
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