Newly updated COVID-19 boosters will be available to adults and teens in a few weeks, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said this week, according to NBC News.
What’s going on: All people over the age of 12 will be eligible for the new booster vaccinations, which specifically target omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.
- The latter strain now accounts for more than 90% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to Centers for Disease Control data cited by the news outlet.
- The updated vaccines “should ‘work much better at preventing infection transmission and serious illness’ than the current boosters,” Jha told NBC News’ Lester Holt in an interview.
Why it’s important: “At first glance, when to get your next shot may seem straightforward: Waiting sounds like a reasonable option because the redesigned boosters should provide the best level of protection against the dominant circulating forms of the virus,” NBC reports.
- “But it’s become an increasingly complicated question in a country where vaccine uptake has varied considerably and people carry different levels of risk.”
- Ultimately, the best way to determine when to get your next booster “may be to look at your individual risk factors—such as age and underlying conditions—as well as the level of spread in your community and the time since your last vaccine dose, experts say.”
- Those with healthy immune systems who live in an area where COVID-19 transmission rates are low may be able to wait for the new boosters. But, as Jha said during a recent webinar, “‘My general feeling is no reason to wait, go get it, even if we’re only a few weeks away’ from the updated booster.”