When is the best time to give the updated Omicron injection?
While someone’s schedule may change based on health, activities or travel plans, officials generally recommend getting an extra dose of bivalent before the busy fall and winter holiday season.
With Halloween just over a month away, “it’s a good idea to plan to increase your protection by getting this updated booster in the next few weeks,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, suggested that people who meet the requirements get a new booster and flu shot no later than October.
“If you’re going to treat yourself this Halloween and haven’t gotten your flu shot or booster, it’s probably time to run out and get one,” he said.
Officials say it takes two weeks after the injection for the booster to take full protective effect. The maximum effectiveness of the vaccine will be a month after the injection, but people should enjoy a good degree of protection for four to five months, according to Chin-Hong.
The upgraded shot is known as a divalent booster. Unlike the usual monovalent vaccine and booster, which were developed only against the original strain of the coronavirus, the new vaccine targets the original strain and the Omicron subvariants that have dominated the US in recent months, including BA.5.
The updated boosters mean that most Californians “will be able to strengthen their defenses against COVID-19 as we head into the fall and winter seasons,” Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Galli and Dr. Thomas Aragon, California Health Director and the state sanitary officer, said c joint statement earlier this month.
“Because protection against infection can decline over time, updated boosters are a safe way to maintain protection and reduce the most severe consequences of COVID-19, such as hospitalization, long covid and death,” their statement reads.
During the first pandemic autumn-winter wave in 2020, the number of coronavirus cases in California began to increase in November and accelerated sharply in December. Things started last year peak in December.
People who haven’t recovered from the coronavirus this calendar year should plan to get another shot sooner rather than later, Chin-Hong said.
And those with significant travel ahead of them, or those headed somewhere with a higher risk of infection, may want to plan their booster accordingly, at least two weeks after the event.
But Ferrer and Chin-Hong say those who are at greater risk of serious illness — such as the elderly, immunocompromised or pregnant — should get a new booster right away.
“People who are at risk of serious complications … I would probably go ahead and give it to them now because that’s really my priority group,” Chin-Hon said.
However, there are some reasons why you might want to delay the booster.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention generally advises residents to stay if it’s been less than three months since they tested positive for the coronavirus or started experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, whichever came first.
Other factors can change this time, such as risk factors for developing serious diseases.
A person must also go at least two months after their last vaccination or regular booster before receiving an updated booster.
Chin-Hong said getting a new amp sooner than recommended isn’t dangerous. But waiting until enough time has passed will help create a more effective immune response.
For those at lower risk of severe COVID-19, some experts say it may be wise to wait a bit, timing the vaccination a little closer — but not too close — to Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.
“While it is humbling to look back and be reminded of the enormous impact of COVID on our lives, we are also encouraged as we face our third winter with COVID as we head into the colder months with a renewed fall booster to match options that are currently circulating,” Ferrer said during a recent briefing.