The newest booster shots for COVID will have part of the original COVID strain and part of one that will target the Omicron variant. This should make them more effective against the Omicron variant that is causing most cases (about 88.7 percent) of COVID in the U.S. and are predicted to ramp up in the coming months.
This is the first time there has been a COVID vaccine geared toward a specific variant and it should be made available to the public very soon.
“The COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, continue to save countless lives and prevent the most serious outcomes (hospitalization and death) of COVID-19,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “As we head into fall and begin to spend more time indoors, we strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to consider receiving a booster dose with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine to provide better protection against currently circulating variants.”
The original Omicron wave affected New Jersey badly earlier this year. The state peaked at 33,459 infections on Jan. 7 and recorded 6,089 hospitalizations on Jan. 11, which topped numbers reported back in April 2020, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.
“The FDA has been planning for the possibility that the composition of the COVID-19 vaccines would need to be modified to address circulating variants,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “We have worked closely with the vaccine manufacturers to ensure the development of these updated boosters was done safely and efficiently. The FDA has extensive experience with strain changes for annual influenza vaccines. We are confident in the evidence supporting these authorizations.”
The updated Moderna booster is for individuals 18 and older, while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is geared for those 12 years old and older. You can get a single booster shot at least two months following your initial vaccine or your booster vaccination.
You are considered up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible, according to the CDC. The CDC continues to recommend COVID-19 primary series vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older, and COVID-19 boosters for everyone eligible ages 5 years and older.
Getting a vaccine after you recover from being sick provides added protection against COVID-19, according to the CDC.
People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have different recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters. You can find out when you are eligible for your next vaccine or booster on the CDC website.