Dr. Ashish Jha, who serves as the White House’s coordinator for the COVID programme, announced on Wednesday that the freshly revised COVID boosters will be accessible to adolescents and adults “within a few short weeks.”
According to Jha, who was interviewed by Lester Holt of NBC News, “I believe it is going to be available, and any American over the age of 12 will be eligible for it.”
The new boosters are designed to protect against the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, in addition to the virus in its original form. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BA.5 is responsible for over 90% of newly reported cases of COVID in the United States.
Complete coverage of the influenza A pandemic known as Covid-19
Jha stated that the effectiveness of the updated shots in warding off the virus will be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. He went on to say that he anticipates that these new boosters will “work much better at preventing infection transmission and serious illness” than the ones that are currently available.
After receiving their initial booster shot, adults aged 50 and older, as well as those who are immunocompromised, are eligible to receive a second shot of the vaccine four months later.
Should folks who are eligible have their next shot right away, or should they wait till the upgraded versions come out? the new shots are coming out soon.
At first appearance, determining when to obtain your next shot may appear to be a simple matter: Because the modified boosters ought to offer the best level of protection against the most prevalent circulating strains of the virus, waiting seems like a realistic option to pursue at this point.
In spite of this, it is becoming an increasingly difficult question to answer in a nation where there is a wide range of vaccination coverage and individuals have varying degrees of vulnerability.
In the United States, there are a significant number of persons who have been vaccinated but have not been given a booster dose. Some of them have two separate boosts. The question of whether or not a person has been infected or reinfected adds another layer of complexity to the situation.
According to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the level of immunity across the country is “strikingly different now than it was just a year ago.” This change occurred within the past year.
To make matters even more perplexing, if people get their next shot early in the fall of this year, there is some concern among scientists as to whether or not they will still have sufficient immune protection against the virus during the winter months, which is when the number of cases of Covid is expected to rise again.
According to research conducted, the antibodies that are produced by the currently available vaccines start to wane after only a few short months.
Dr. Katherine Poehling, a vaccine expert and paediatrician at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in North Carolina, stated that there is no straightforward response to this question. She stated that the timing of your subsequent vaccination is almost as difficult as “timing the stock market.”
According to the recommendations of medical professionals, the best way to determine when you should get your next dose of the Covid vaccine is to consider not only your own personal risk factors, such as age and preexisting conditions, but also the level of transmission in your community and the amount of time that has passed since your most recent vaccination.
The elderly and those who have compromised immune systems are typically at the most risk of serious problems from Covid; however, other groups, such as those who have diabetes, asthma, or chronic lung disease, are also at risk.
“I’d say that if somebody were in a community with a high transmission rate and they were very vulnerable, they may want to avail themselves immediately with a booster that is currently available,” said Dr. Ofer Levy, the director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “I’d say that if somebody were in a community with a high transmission rate and they were very vulnerable, they may want to avail themselves immediately with a booster that is currently available.”
On the other hand, he mentioned that a person who is young, in good health, and resides in an area with a low Covid transmission level might be able to choose to wait for the upgraded booster.
“protection against the worst outcomes, which is critical care unit admission and death,” he stated, “should still be provided by the existing immunizations that a young healthy individual has already had.”
To be clear, delaying immunisation until the newly revised booster shot is commercially available is still a risky proposition for anyone:
According to data provided by the CDC, the number of covid cases in the United States is still quite high, averaging more than 98,000 cases per day.
In addition, the federal health officials have not yet made a decision regarding whether they will immediately give the updated doses to all individuals in the United States, or whether they will begin with those who are most likely to be affected, such as the elderly.
According to a person who is familiar with the discussions, the amount of supply that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna will be able to manufacture and distribute by the beginning of the following month will determine whether or not the government will immediately make the vaccine available to everyone who is qualified to receive it. In the event that there is an initial shortage of the revised doses, it is possible that those who are most at danger, such as the elderly or those who are immunocompromised, will receive them first.
This technique might be modelled after the one used in the United Kingdom, which will begin giving out updated boosters to persons over the age of 50 and those whose jobs or health conditions place them at a greater risk the next month. (The new boosters that have been developed in the United Kingdom differ from those that will be made available in the United States in that they are designed to combat the BA.1 strain of the omicron virus that was circulating earlier this year.)
Jha advised participants of a webinar hosted by the United States Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that they should receive a booster shot as soon as possible if they are eligible to do so, and that they should still be able to get the latest booster shot in a few months’ time.
He stated that there was “no reason to wait, go get it, even if we’re only a few weeks away” from the new booster. “My general feeling is no reason to wait, go get it,” he said.
Schaffner, who works at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, concurred with the sentiment that individuals shouldn’t wait, pointing out that there is no assurance that they will be able to obtain the most recent vaccines.
According to Levy, who works at Boston Children’s Hospital, there is no risk in having an extra shot right now if you are eligible “I believe that people ought to make the most of it. We offer immunizations that are both safe and effective. Get vaccinated. That is the crux of the matter.”