Laurie McGinley of The Washington Post
Aug. 31, 2022 — A new coronavirus booster is just around the corner after federal regulators authorized it Wednesday. The updated lenses are designed to provide greater protection against the BA.4 and BA.5 micron variants, which still cause tens of thousands of infections and hundreds of deaths in the United States every day.
The boosters will be part of a federal campaign to be launched within days to persuade Americans to bolster their immune defenses ahead of a possible surge in Covid-19 cases when cooler weather arrives in the fall.
But the updated booster has generated some controversy and confusion. Here’s what you need to know.
When can I shoot?
The boosters must now be approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its advisors after receiving emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The review is scheduled for Thursday. If all goes as expected, some footage may be available this weekend and more after Labor Day.
Where can I get one and how much will it cost?
The new booster, designed to be a single shot, will be delivered where boosters and vaccines were previously available — in doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies and community health clinics.
Like other coronavirus vaccines, the updated booster has been purchased by the federal government and will be offered to consumers free of charge.
Who is the booster?
The CDC is expected to recommend FDA-authorized injectables of the same age: 12 and older for the new booster from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and 18 and older for the Moderna booster. Officials are expected to consider the updated booster in younger children at a later date. Anyone who has received two injections of the primary series of mRNA vaccines and one injection of J&J vaccine will be eligible, regardless of whether they have received any or all of the recommended booster shots.
The existing vaccine will continue to be used, but only for the initial two-injection series of mRNA, not as a booster.
If I just got a booster dose of the original vaccine, should I get the new one right away?
Won’t. The FDA said people who recently received the initial vaccine or booster should wait two months for the updated booster. Getting a new booster too early could limit its effectiveness.
What are the side effects of boosters?
Side effects are expected to be no different from those associated with current vaccines, including redness and swelling at the vaccine site, as well as occasional fatigue, headache and muscle aches, according to the CDC. More severe reactions are rare.
The Washington Post’s Lena H. Sun contributed to this report.