With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising, the Biden administration is looking ahead to fall and apparently changing a plan to let more younger adults get their second boosters this summer, in order to speed up availability of the next generation of boosters.
Now the question becomes: Should you wait for the updated booster? Or get the vaccine that’s available now?
Despite many towns and cities looking very similar to the way they did before the pandemic, the reality is that COVID cases are again on the rise in New York and across the country. But health experts are encouraged that the new COVID vaccine booster shot will be available earlier than expected, by mid-September.
“Right now is a particularly challenging time for public health officials and I think continuing to vaccinate is the highest priority,” said Dr. Matt Harris, director of Northwell Health’s COVID vaccine program.
Doctors have said that early data shows the new vaccine should be more effective against the latest virus variants, including the omicron subvariant BA.5.
So which is the better option for those who haven’t gotten a booster in several months: Get one now, as COVID cases continue to spread? Or wait for the new version?
That depends on your risk factor, said Dr. Harris.
“Likely, those patients at the lowest risk can wait. If you are a high-risk individual, immuno-compromised, we’d encourage you to get the booster now,” he said.
Hospitalizations are up in several states after a surge in COVID-19 infections as subvariants of Omicron spread. And as Google search trends tell us, interest in boosters is high right now. “It is critically important to get boosted now, as we are in the midst of that BA.5 wave,” Dr. Aditi Nerurkar of Harvard Medical School tells LX News Now. Dr. Nerurkar brings us depth and context on the top-searched questions on this topic.
And for those who want to get a booster now, Dr. Harris says they can still get the updated shot in a few months.
The best advice, as always, is for individuals to speak with their doctor about what’s best for their circumstances.
The CDC and FDA still must approve the new vaccine boosters, a process that could potentially impact their availability.