What to know about new COVID boosters and who is eligible

This week, updated COVID-19 booster shots — a shot from Pfizer and a shot from Moderna — were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These updated vaccines will better combat the COVID variants currently circulating in the U.S. and around the world.

Specifically, these shots target the XBB.1.5 sub-variant, an evolution of the Omicron variant that was prevalent earlier this summer when development of the updated shot began. And although XBB.1.5 is no longer the dominant variant (CDC data shows that the subvariant Eris, or EG.5, is now the most prominent strain), these vaccinations will still help protect you from serious consequences such as hospitalization and death. EG.5 is also a descendant of Omicron, so you still have good coverage.

“[The shots] will work really well against all of the variants that are currently circulating in the United States and around the world,” he said Jodie Guestthe vice chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

It is best not to even think of this as a booster vaccination, but rather as a normal vaccination, they say Dr. S. Wesley Longthe medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist Hospital.

“You know, when we take our annual flu shot, that’s just the flu shot, we don’t think of it as a flu booster… One way to think about these new COVID vaccines is that they’re really like the annual flu shot. Long said. While it is similar to last year’s vaccine, it has been updated to reflect any virus changes, he explained.

So it’s safe to say that these vaccinations are important as we face another fall and winter where respiratory illnesses are known to be on the rise. Here’s who can get the new vaccinations and why they’re necessary:

The new vaccinations are available to people ages 6 months and older.

CDC guidelines say anyone 6 months and older can receive this updated vaccine, which is welcome news, both experts told HuffPost.

“The CDC Advisory Committee’s recommendation will help ensure access to the updated COVID-19 vaccine for everyone ages 6 months and older, which is particularly important from a health equity perspective,” Guest told HuffPost via email.

The new vaccine is One dose for people 5 years and older and multiple doses for people 6 months to 4 years old. However, the exact number of cans depends on the current The vaccination status and which vaccine a child has received – either Pfizer or Moderna – also plays a role in dosage. according to the FDA. It’s best to talk to your child’s pediatrician or doctor to find out more details.

While the new vaccinations are available to everyone, Guest said it is also important to focus on giving the shots to those who are at high risk of severe outcomes, such as older adults and immunocompromised people.

The new COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone ages 6 months and older.

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The new COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone ages 6 months and older.

If you can, get the new vaccine now. However, if you have recently been vaccinated or infected, you should wait.

Vaccinations are expected to be available this week. As cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, we encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“You will find it in pharmacies and doctor’s offices across the country, and this is the perfect time to get vaccinated against both the flu and COVID,” Guest said.

If you don’t get vaccinated now, she said, you should do so by October to get the best possible protection during peak illness season.

However, if you have recently been vaccinated against COVID-19, the FDA guidelines says you should wait two months to get the new vaccination. There are currently no specific guidelines for people who have recently been infected with COVID-19. However, previous recommendations said people should wait about three months after infection to get a new vaccine, Guest noted.

If you have recently had COVID, talk to your doctor about the best time to get your vaccination.

Receiving this new vaccine is important to curb the spread of the virus and prevent serious illness.

Long reiterated that these vaccines target the subvariants that are currently making people sick and boost overall immunity, which is waning in much of the population.

“Our immunity to coronavirus generally wanes over time. “Probably over the course of — and it depends on the person — but between six and nine months, your circulating antibody levels start to decline,” Long said.

During that time, you’re more likely to have a symptomatic infection if you get reinfected, he said, which means you’re also more likely to spread droplets that infect those around you.

“Frankly, it is likely that immunity will wane [what] A lot of people think that this may be causing some of the increase in cases that we’re seeing right now because, again, we launched the new bivalent boosters about a year ago. ..whether they were vaccinated or infected last summer or last fall, the residual immunity they had from that could decrease,” Long said.

These updated vaccines would essentially train our immune systems to recognize the variants currently circulating, he said.

“And then hopefully help shorten the course of the disease and definitely reduce your risk of serious illness, hospitalization or death,” Long noted.

That being said, only 17% of Americans received the updated COVID booster shot last year. according to CDC data.

“The vaccines are our best way to protect ourselves from COVID, to protect our friends, family, loved ones, classmates, colleagues, etc. from COVID,” Long said, hopefully reducing infection and transmission rates with the additional protection provided by the vaccine updated vaccine.

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