The updated shots are engineered to target Omicron BA.5.
Starting this week, both Moderna and Pfizer have begun rolling out their updated COVID-19 booster vaccines. These newly-updated shots have been specifically engineered to target the highly-infectious Omicron BA.5 variant of the disease. Most major pharmacies and medical offices are already offering appointments for these new shots, and healthcare authorities are advising everyone to get their shot updated as soon as possible.
“If you are eligible, there is no bad time to get your COVID-19 booster,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told NPR. “I strongly encourage you to receive it.”
The new booster is broadly available for all US citizens aged 12 or over, though it is primarily recommended for those at the highest risk of infection. This includes those deemed immunocompromised, as well as individuals over the age of 60. Even if you don’t fall into those categories, professionals recommend getting the new shot anyway if it’s been at least four months since your last COVID vaccine or booster. However, if you have been recently infected with COVID-19, doctors recommend waiting around three months for your natural immune response to die down.
Today, we amended the authorizations of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to authorize updated formulations of the vaccines for use as a single booster dose at least two months following primary or booster vaccination. https://t.co/1mS2TNqXaA pic.twitter.com/xJA1baopLh
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) August 31, 2022
While the booster is not guaranteed to completely prevent a COVID-19 infection, medical professionals are of the opinion that it will prevent most severe, debilitating cases of the disease. This, in turn, will prevent widescale spreading and lessen the strain on local hospitals. Individuals are urged to get their shot before the winter months, as this year’s flu season is projected to be particularly severe.