NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The rise in COVID-19 BA.5 variant cases now has the Biden administration considering making another booster shot available to people younger than 50.
With vaccine protection waning over time, getting much more of the population boosted could be a game-changer in public health. The covid omicron BA.5 variant is proving to not only be extremely contagious but more elusive, slowly driving up hospitalizations.
There is less data on boosters for people under the age of 50, but Yale Medicine Infectious Diseases Doctor Albert Shaw points out it does offer protection, especially against severe disease and hospitalizations.
“Particularly if it’s been a while since your last booster we know immunity wanes with time it’s something I would consider,” says Dr. Shaw.
He urges people not to get complacent about covid with more reinfections being seen.
“We’re totally done with this virus but it’s not yet done with us,” says Shaw.
The White House Covid coordinator sends this message.
“If you have not gotten one this year, please go get another vaccine shot. It could save your life,” says Dr. Ashish Jha.
This as Moderna touts the effectiveness of its new vaccine against that rapidly spreading variant. The drug maker says its new booster produced 6 times more antibodies against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants one month after injection. But that new shot is not likely to be available until October or November so many continue to ask if they should get boosted in the meantime?
“Let me be clear, if you get vaccinated today, you’re not going to be ineligible to get the variant-specific vaccine as we get into the later part of fall and winter. So this is not a trade-off. We’ve got plenty,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The next step for that booster, the fourth covid vaccine dose for those under 50 would be recommendations from the FDA and the CDC, which could come fairly soon.