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When will you be able to get a COVID-19 omicron booster?

Several factors may make that decision for you.

CLEVELAND — Reportedly, you can expect the FDA to approve omicron booster shots the week of Labor Day. 

The shots include the original recipe and protection against BA.4 and BA.5. Currently nine out of ten COVID cases are BA.5.

What we don’t know is how much of a benefit the boosters will offer, who should get one, and how soon.

Next week, CDC vaccine advisors will meet to sort it all out.

What we do know is that to get one, you need to have your primary shots.

Pfizer wants its updated booster for anyone over age 12, while Moderna applied for adult use.

Much will depend on supply. The government ordered more than 170 million doses, but if they’re slow to roll out due to supply issues, the CDC may decide those at high risk should get them first, such as the elderly and immunocompromised, regardless of when they received their boosters.  

Experts seem split on when you should get it though.

Some immunologists say if you’ve recently had COVID or the original vaccine in July or August, you still have antibodies and might want to wait six months.

Others say low risk people may want until we really hit cold, COVID and flu season, usually by late fall or early winter. And for now, there is no omicron booster available for kids six months to 11 years. They should still get their normal booster.

Can you mix and match?

It’s likely you can, except those who are between 12 and 17 can only get Pfizer. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson shot can also mix and match. 

Parents, keep in mind that there is no omicron booster available yet for kids six months to eleven years. They should still get the normal booster.

How do you know if you’re due for a booster?

The CDC’s booster guide can help.  

How popular these booster shots may be could depend on several factors. Availability and a rise in cases may help some make the decision.  However so far, only half of Americans over age 12 got their first booster shot, and a third of those over fifty received their second.

The original shot still offers protection from severe disease, hospitalization and death, but it's not so great at preventing a wicked COVID cold that some say feels like the flu. 

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