The new COVID-19 booster targeting the Omicron subvariant has prompted questions about its protection and immunity duration. Leading coronavirus experts are here to weigh in on some of these pressing questions.
Vaccines are proven to lessen the severity of COVID-19 infections, which makes it vital to help slow the spread and keep those infected from being hospitalized, getting severely ill, or even dying, according to the CDC.
“We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We’re not there yet, but the end is in sight. We can see the finish line,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We are in a winning position, but now is the worst time to stop running.”
Dr. Andy Pekosz, co-director of the Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Dr. Benjamin Abramoff, On/Go medical adviser and founder and director of Penn Medicine’s Post-COVID Assessment and Recovery clinic, agree that there is no reason to think that this booster’s immunity lasts any less than the previous booster, according to an interview in the Huffington Post.
“Everything we know about boosters for COVID, as well as for other vaccines, is that you’ll strengthen the long-term immunity ― the memory immunity ― with a booster,” Pekosz said in the article. This means your immune system strengthens with vaccines and even previous infections, making it easier for your body to remember those cues and start fighting the virus.
When vaccines started getting widely dispersed last year, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson were all COVID-19 vaccine options. Boosters are now available to you if you are at least two months past your last vaccine dose or COVID infection.
The original Omicron strain is a more mild version of the virus, a less severe strain that has caused less death and severe illness than the strain before it, Delta, according to Yale Medicine. Currently, the most dominant and prevalent strains in the U.S. are BA.5 and BA.4, the most contagious variants causing more than 88% of cases, the Yale Medicine article stated.
Scientists and experts are confident that the new booster provides strong protection against the dominant strains of COVID-19.
You can track the strains and get updates on cases at the CDC COVID Data Tracker which has maps, charts, and data updates Monday through Friday by 8 p.m. EST.
One of the most proven ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated! You can always wear a mask in crowded and indoor places and wash your hands properly to help reduce your chances of contracting COVID-19.
Find resources on getting vaccinated against COVID-19 like where vaccines are available, how many shots you’ll need, and information on scheduling your booster shot on the CDC’s website.