Fall COVID booster: New strategy to push omicron-specific vaccine amid variant surge

Health experts recommend holding off on 2nd booster until new variant-specific vaccine released

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Saturday, July 30, 2022
COVID booster: New strategy to push new Omicron-specific vaccine amid variant surge
Growing confusion as the Biden administration prepares to roll out newly formulated boosters that target the highly-contagious BA.5 variant.

As cases of the BA.5 variant surge across the country, the Biden administration is getting ready to roll out newly formulated boosters in the fall that targets the highly-contagious variant.

But that means second boosters are on hold right now for everyone under the age of 50.

Despite a summer surge of positive COVID cases, the Food and Drug Administration is shelving plans to allow adults under 50 and under to get their 2nd booster shot. After much debate within the Biden Administration, the new strategy is to push the new Omicron-specific vaccine due out possibly by September.

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"Because we are close to September, if we are going to use omicron variant vaccine, it's fairly close they might as well get boosted then," said Dr. Richard Novak, a UIC Infectious Disease expert.

The Biden Administration has ordered millions of doses of the reformulated vaccine as it prepares to launch a new booster campaign.

"I hope with the updated booster there will be an increased enthusiasm because these vaccines, hopefully, work better than the ones we have now and hope more people will get in the fall," said Dr. Jonathan Pinsky, medical director of Infection Control at Edward/Elmhurst Health.

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Enthusiasm for boosters shots has not been great, especially for the second one. According to the CDC, only 30.9% of Americans above 50 years old have received the second booster. The rate is slightly higher for people 65 and above at 37.8%