Should I get a COVID-19 booster now or wait? Experts answer key questions


COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of infection, hospitalization, and death caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. While mRNA vaccines continue to provide durable protection against severe outcomes from all COVID-19 variants, data shows that immunity against emerging variants can wane over time. Recent researchTrusted Source found that the current dominant SARS-CoV-2 variants, BA.4 and BA.5, are significantly more resistant to current mRNA vaccines than the previous BA.2 Omicron subvariant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source recommends getting a booster shot for everyone over 5 years old to overcome waning protection. The agency also recommends a second booster shot for immunocompromised individuals over 12 years old and those over 50.

However, current booster shots use the same formulations as the original COVID-19 vaccines for the alpha variant.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source recently recommended including a SARS-CoV-2 Omicron component in COVID-19 booster vaccines for the 2022 fall and winter seasons. Pfizer and Moderna have announced the development of new vaccines targeting BA.4 and BA.5 to be ready for distribution by fall.

Some may wonder whether to get a booster shot this summer or wait for the updated shots. To help answer some of the key questions, Medical News Today spoke with six experts across multiple medical fields, including immunology, microbiology, and critical care.

Should people get another vaccine shot now or wait?

“Those who have medical conditions that predispose them to severe COVID perhaps should not wait,” noted Dr. Fady Youssef, a board certified pulmonologist, internist, and critical care specialist at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center in Long Beach, California. “With the current variant gaining dominance and showing its high transmissibility now may be the best time to get a second booster.”

Nicola Stonehouse, Ph.D. FRSB FRSA, Professor in Molecular Virology at the University of Leeds, told MNT:

“If eligible, it is always a good idea to take the opportunity of an additional vaccine dose. It is especially important for older people and those who are clinically vulnerable.”

“Although SARS-CoV2 is not my direct area of research, I personally got a booster because of the rise of the variants,” said Brian J. Akerley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at the Center for Immunology and Microbial Research at the University of Mississippi.

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