If you are at increased or high risk for COVID, should you want until the expected “bivalent” vaccine boosters become available?

I’m at that age where I know and love a lot of people in the 50-and-older age group, which is also the primary population that is approved for the full round of COVID booster shots.

Yet, according to the good folks at AARP, “[T]allies from the CDC show the vast majority of the 50-plus population is lagging behind on boosters. As of July 20, less than 30 percent of adults 50 and older who were eligible for a second boost had received one.”

Those numbers are not good, and clearly include more than just people who are ignorant or mis-informed about vaccines.

There has been much in the news lately about the fact that the government is in the process of likely approving “bivalent” vaccines, which would provide two-prong protection against not only the original strains of COVID, but also the latest variations like Omicron.

So the question remains: if you have not gotten boosted, should you wait until these new vaccines are approved and widely available?

The consensus view of qualified experts is that you should not wait.

Another reason not to fall behind on your booster schedule: It’s still unclear when, exactly, the next generation of shots will be available. The Health and Human Services Department on July 29 announced that the new vaccines could be here by early fall, but Jha said in previous press conferences that it could be a bit longer before their distribution is more widespread.

Clinical trial data still needs to be submitted. And federal agencies and independent experts need to review and recommend the shots — a process that, even under urgent circumstances, can still take some time. Among those recommendations would be the wait time, if any, to receive a new bivalent booster after receiving one of the currently available COVID vaccines.

There’s also the possibility that we’re dealing with another dominant variant this fall, different from the ones the new vaccines are designed to target.

“Given the unknowns that still exist, when it comes to my parents, my advice is still get that second booster. It’s a couple of months [until the new shots are potentially available], we don’t know what’s going to happen in the meantime, and we do know that getting a booster now is going to help,” Closser says.

The AARP article is good. I’ve already shared it with my over-50 friends whom I think might find it useful.

You can read the rest at this link.

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