August 18, 2022
Omicron-Specific COVID-19 Vaccines Are Coming; Should You Wait or Get a Booster Now?
Nearly a year after the Omicron variant of COVID-19 began to spread in November 2021, updated vaccines are coming out to combat the version of the coronavirus that’s far more contagious but fortunately, less deadly than its prior counterparts.
The United Kingdom authorized the new boosters in August, and the U.S. is expected to do so sometime in September.
With a more targeted vaccine on the horizon, many are wondering whether to get a second booster now or wait until the new shot is available.
Centers Health Care has a look at what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends.
Get What You’re Eligible For
Nearly everyone is eligible for a first booster if you’ve only had the two-dose series from Pfizer or Moderna or one Johnson & Johnson shot.
Most adults under the age of 50 are not eligible for a second booster. Those over 50 and all immunocompromised people 12 and over are able to get the fourth shot now, and the CDC says to do so.
The other caveat is if you’ve had a COVID-19 infection within the past six months. If you have, you don’t need to get a booster until that six-month point passes.
“Hybrid Immunity” Is Another Reason to Wait
If you’ve been boosted and have also recovered from a COVID-19 infection, experts say that you have “hybrid immunity” and can consider waiting for an Omicron-specific booster.
While Omicron variants are still evolving, the shot is expected to provide more protection against infection. But, much like previous vaccines, the goal is not to prevent infection; the goal is to prevent severe disease that leads to hospitalization and death. So it’s important to talk to your doctor and get any vaccine that you’re eligible for.