Coronavirus

4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

Actions

Should you get a COVID-19 booster now or wait for an omicron-specific shot?

Posted at 10:57 AM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 10:57:46-04

DETROIT, Mich.  — The coronavirus omicron BA.5 subvariant is spreading across metro Detroit and across America. This latest COVID-19 surge has health leaders urging the public to get booster shots.

That leaves people with a choice: Get boosted now or wait for an omicron-specific booster that is expected to roll out this fall or winter?

BA.5 is better at evading immunity from previous infection and vaccinations, and it's now responsible for roughly 80% of new COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Teena Chopra, the co-director at the Center for Emerging Infections at Wayne State University said don't wait for omicron-specific vaccines to get boosted.

"We don't want to get a severe disease from COVID. We don't want to be hospitalized. We don't want to be in the ICU from COVID. So do not wait to get your boosters," she said.

In preparation for the fall and updated protection for the cold and flu season, the federal government has already ordered millions of doses of the bivalent vaccine. It's a combination of the current COVID-19 shot and an omicron-specific vaccine.

And in preparation for the fall and update protection for the cold and flu season, the Federal government has already ordered millions of doses of bivalent vaccine. It’s a combination of the current covid shot and an omicron-specific vaccine.

"About a week or ten days ago, we have put in one order so far with Pfizer for 105 million doses," Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator said.

Those vaccines are being made now, but the entire 105 million doses won't all be available at once. There will also be a rollout period with some Americans having access in October, others in November and December.

"I would still get the boosters now and then get them again with omicron-specific boosters, variant specific boosters in the fall," Chopra said.

By the end of 2022, many of us will have taken two initial vaccines, two boosters, and possibly the omicron-specific booster in the fall.

"Are health leaders worried about growing COVID booster fatigue? I asked.

"You know, that is always there. But we get an influenza shot every year and we are learning so much about this virus," Chopra said. "We will have to update our vaccines until the virus is weak enough not to cause a very severe illness."

If you don't get a severe illness or end up hospitalized, getting COVID-19 can still be a pretty miserable experience, especially if you haven't been boosted.

One of the few only exceptions is for anyone sick with COVID-19 right now. You should talk to your doctor about when you should get a booster after you recover.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.