A modified version of the COVID-19 vaccine is in the works that targets the omicron variant, but the White House COVID-19 response team doesn’t want people to wait for it.
Health officials state they’re worried about waning immunity, mainly because the omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, are quickly spreading across America.
“My message is simple: It is essential that these Americans get their second booster shot right away,” Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. The subvariants currently make up 80% of new cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“We are experiencing about 300-350 deaths a day,” White House COVID-19 czar Ashish Jha said. “That is unacceptable. It’s too high.”
Right now, people 50 and older are eligible to get a second booster shot. There are exceptions for some people ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. Still, Walensky stated that many Americans haven’t gotten their first booster shot.
Walensky stated that a vaccine that targets the omicron variant is likely to be available in the fall, but that the rising cases are happening now. They also stated that receiving a booster now would not make someone ineligible for an omicron vaccine later this year.
Health officials also said people should mask when they are in an indoor public space for greater protection.