Each week, OMRF Chief Medical Officer Dr. Judith James opens “Adam’s Journal” to answer a medical question from Adam Cohen, OMRF’s senior vice president & general counsel.
Here’s a question from a reader:
Our daughter recently began her first semester at the University of Oklahoma. Along with other incoming freshmen, she’ll be exposed to new germs and illnesses in her new community. With Covid cases currently rising, I’m wondering if we need to have her boosted again. She’s had every vaccine and booster as recommended by the CDC.
Dr. James Prescribes
The good news is that although there has been a recent uptick in Covid-19 cases, overall infection and hospitalizations remain low.
The majority of coronavirus strains infecting people right now are related to a variant of the virus known as XBB.1.5. However, the currently available booster targets only the original Covid strain and a strain known as BA.5 Omicron, neither of which appear to be in circulation anymore.
Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax are currently working to update, test and mass-produce new boosters that target the XBB.1.5 variant.
The process of getting the new boosters rolled out to the public, which will also include receiving authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, is not yet complete. Still, experts predict it will likely happen by late September or early October.
As tempting as it is to get boosted now, I would recommend that your daughter – and everyone else – wait for that new booster. Not only will it provide better protection against the strains that are infecting people now, but holding off even for a month boosts the immune system’s odds of fighting off infection when cases will likely peak.
Typically, respiratory infections hit their highest rates in late fall and winter. Anyone who gets boosted in a month or two will have the best odds of staying healthy during that time, as antibodies and protection are highest in the three months following vaccination.
Do you have a health query for Dr. James? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your question may be answered in a future column!