Am I supposed to get the updated COVID-19 booster?
A: If you’re in the United States, chances are, yes! As long as it’s been two months since your last shot, you’re due for the updated booster now.
Yes, even if you already had a booster at some point. Yes, even if you already had two (or more) boosters. Yes, even if you are not yet 50. Yes, even if you are over 50. Yes, even kids (12 and up). In the US, the updated booster is recommended for *everyone* age 12+ at 2 months from your last dose.
People who’ve had COVID-19 in the last couple of months are the only exception to this chorus of yesses. If you had COVID-19 recently, you probably had an Omicron variant. Your immune system did get a not-so-friendly reminder about what to do when it encounters COVID-19, and that reminder will act like a booster for a few months for most people.
Exactly how long you are protected after infection varies from one person to another and isn’t easy to estimate, so we can’t tell you the optimal timing. It’s *safe* to get your booster as soon as you’ve recovered, but probably not strictly necessary. You should get boosted before the 4-month mark.
The new booster has better coverage for the COVID-19 variant circulating right now, which is a granddaughter of the omicron variant that slammed the world early in 2022. It *also* covers the original Wuhan strain of the virus, so overall it offers broader protection.
A new study came out this week showing that protection from the first booster wanes over time when it comes to hospitalization for COVID-19. Odds of being hospitalized were lower across the board for people who got booster, but were lowest in the first 3 months after getting a booster. After that, protection started to decline. Figure 1 in the study does a nice job illustrating this effect.
As kids return to school and the weather cools, we *are* expecting a surge in COVID-19 cases, so it’s time to bring that immunity back up to optimal.
Stay safe. Stay well.
Those Nerdy Girls
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