UNMC doctor answers questions about who, when to get updated COVID-19 booster

The updated booster will fight against the BA.5 variant, the variant that is currently spreading across the globe.
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 5:03 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Updated COVID-19 boosters are now available and there are many questions surrounding the better shot formulated to better protect against variants of the virus.

The updated booster will fight against the BA.5 variant, the variant that is currently spreading across the globe. Moderna’s updated booster is for people 18 and over, and Pfizer is for people 12 and over, but there is no updated booster for kids.

“The booster with the BA.5 version has not been approved or studied in kids younger than that so does not have authorization at this point,” said Dr. Mark Rupp.

Dr. Mark Rupp is a Professor and Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He says there are a group of people who should get the updated COVID-19 booster as soon as they’re eligible.

“People who are immune suppressed or those folks who are older, or those folks who’ve been more than a few months since their last experience with the virus or their last booster are the ones who should be up at the top of the line,” said Dr. Rupp.

People have been talking about waiting to take the updated COVID-19 booster so they have more protection during the holidays. Dr. Rupp says that’s a gamble.

“Getting the booster and getting it on time is your best bet and trying to time it and say ‘hey look I want to get it at Thanksgiving so I’m protected at the end of the year,’ may not be a wise decision for you,” said Dr. Rupp.

Dr. Rupp says the updated COVID booster will prevent severe diseases, long COVID and give protection against any kind of COVID-related illnesses, and there’s a possibility that the BA.5 variant won’t be the last COVID variant we see.

“We don’t really know what will happen with the next variant this virus has demonstrated the ability to spin off these variants there’s really no reason to expect that something else won’t come along,” said Dr. Rupp.

Dr. Rupp says we have given hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine at this point of the pandemic and the safety of the shot is well assured. He continues to say we’re getting to the point where doctors can tweak the vaccine much like they do with the flu vaccine.