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When can you get boosted for the BA.5 COVID variant? FDA expects boosters this year

Fort Worth Star-Telegram - 7/28/2022

COVID community spread risk remains high in Tarrant County with over 607,000 total cases reported as of Wednesday.

The spike in cases coincided with the spread of the omicron BA.5 strain in the United States which started increasing in June. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BA.5 is now the dominant COVID strain in the country, making up about 81% of all COVID cases reported.

While BA.5 does not lead to a higher death rate, the variant is hypercontagious and more resistant to messenger RNA vaccines, such as Moderna and Pfizer, than earlier omicron strains, according to Mayo Clinic health officals.

Here’s what to know about COVID boosters and BA.5.

When can I get boosted again?

As of late July, everyone ages five and older is eligible to receive one COVID booster shot. A second booster is approved for those 50 and older as well as some people 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

Those eligible for a second booster can recieve it four months from their first booster shot, according to the CDC.

When will there be a COVID booster for the BA.5 variant?

Experts on the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted in favor of including an omicron component in COVID vaccines to use for boosters beginning this fall.

According to the FDA, manufacturers have been advised to modify their COVID vaccines with an omicron BA.4 or BA.5 spike protein component to use as a booster starting early to mid fall of this year.

What do health officials recommend?

While cases rise from the BA.5 variant, the CDC recommends staying updated on your vaccine and booster shots.

CDC health officials also recommend wearing a face mask in public indoor settings in areas with high community spread, such as Tarrant County. Other recommendations include keeping a six feet distance from others and avoiding poorly ventilated or crowded spaces.

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