New COVID-19 vaccine booster shots could soon be available in the United States. They'll target the original strain of the virus plus two Omicron subvariants, including BA.5 which makes up about 90% of cases in the country right now.
The White House COVID Coordinator spoke with NBC News’ Lester Holt.
"The bottom line is that this virus has evolved substantially since the first vaccines were built. This is why we've seen waning immunity. The vaccines that are coming in a few short weeks are specifically designed for the virus that's out there,” Dr. Ashish Jha said.
White House officials are hopeful everyone aged 12 and up will be eligible for the new booster. But that’s still being worked on and it could be restricted.
“Chances are when it first comes out, while supply is limited, it will go to the most high risk individuals,” said Dr. Sharon Stoll, Yale Medicine neuroimmunologist.
Right now, those age 50 and up, as well as those with underlying medical conditions, are eligible for a second booster.
While some may want to hold out for the new version, experts say the current vaccines are still really good at preventing people from ending up the hospital.
And those are a good choice for people, especially if they have an upcoming wedding, big trip or are going back to school.
“For anybody that has those significant events, waiting may not be the best option, especially if your last vaccine or infection was six or more months ago,” Stoll said.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is figuring out how well the updated shots protect against the virus, and the expectation is they will work a lot better.
And it probably won’t be the last time they have to be tweaked.
“Viruses keep up and they keep mutating into different strains,” Stoll said.
When to get the booster also depends on your own risk factors and how COVID is spreading in your community.
State data released on Thursday finds Connecticut’s positivity rate over the last week was about 10% and 16 people died.