Jul 12, 2022 - Health

White House: COVID booster "will not preclude" shot for later variants

Picture of Rochelle Walensky
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

People who get boosted for COVID-19 now will still be eligible to get a variant-specific vaccine in the fall, the White House COVID-19 Response Team said Tuesday.

Driving the news: "There are many people who are at high risk right now. And waiting until October, November for their boost ... is not a good plan. And so we really do want to say now get your boost. We have every anticipation that the data will suggest that you will be eligible for a boost in the fall," said Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • The White House team emphasized that those who have not received the first booster should do it immediately.
  • "If you've not gotten a vaccine shot this year, go get one now. It could save your life," said White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha.

The big picture: Last month, a Food and Drug Administration expert panel recommended that the regulatory agency move to update booster shots to target specific Omicron variants.

  • However, Jha said that those vaccines might not become available until October.

The bottom line: Jha noted that overall, it is up to the FDA and the CDC to confirm that people who get boosted now can do so again in the fall, but that the data so far suggests that "getting vaccinated will not preclude you from getting a variant-specific vaccine later this fall or winter."

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