The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 has evolved. Surges around the country are attributed to variants like Omicron. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is close to authorizing an updated booster shot that targets the highly transmissible strain.
In a statement the FDA wrote: "An overwhelming majority of the advisory committee voted in favor of including a SARS-CoV-2 omicron component in COVID-19 vaccines that would be used for boosters in the U.S. beginning in fall 2022."
The CDC recommends a second booster of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least four months after the first booster for people 50 years and older and those who are immunocompromised.
Dr. Carrie Horn at National Jewish Health says the vaccines millions of Americans received are still working.
She recommends people over 50 and immunocompromised individuals who have already received their second booster get the omicron targeted booster.
"If we look at September, October, November, you know, that's three to six months away. Then we'll be at a point where it would be safe for them to get another booster, and I would recommend it," said Horn.
The updated booster will target the variant, but the new shot is not a shortcut.
Horn says opting for the omicron targeted booster isn't a replacement for completing a vaccine series.
"If you haven't had a vaccine at all, and you're waiting for an Omicron variant shot, it's still going to be something where you need more than just the one dose," explained Horn.
With the recent surge of vaccinated individuals testing positive, Horn says she has gotten many questions about what people should do if they recently got covid and are vaccinated.
She says it's tricky.
"The problem with infection and immunity is that we really don't know how strong your immune response is when you get sick. There's a wide range of symptoms that people have and there can be a wide range of immune response," said Horn. "When they did the vaccine, they specifically studied people's immune response. We know from the vaccine how people will respond to that. But we don't have the same information from a COVID infection approach. It's a bit of a gamble."
The FDA says any COVID-19 vaccine authorized or approved by the FDA has met its standards for safety and effectiveness. The agency encourages those eligible for a booster to get one.
for more features.