New COVID-19 booster may soon be available

CDC and FDA will discuss making a new COVID-19 vaccine booster available for newest variant
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:53 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Drug Administration will meet next week to talk about a new COVID-19 booster.

The kraken variant, which is part of the omicron family first appeared in the U.S. last October. It spreads rapidly but doctors say it causes fewer death.

“Your immune system is like an army and when you give them the vaccine, it’s like they just saw the enemy flag, you know, running across the front line,” said UW Health emergency medicine physician Jeff Pothof.

While we don’t hear as much about the COVID-19 pandemic these days, doctors warn it is still around. The latest variant XBB.1.5 or Kraken variant is the latest to pop up and it could prompt another vaccine booster.

“If we continue to find that current immunizations both the original and the newer, the more recent bivalent booster if that’s doing a good job of protecting against severe disease and death, that would lessen the need for another booster,” Pothof said.

Pothof says the first two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine only fight off the original strain. The boosters attack the variants. Pothof says the kraken variant is part of the omicron family, so a booster may not be necessary.”

“What’s going on in the world of variants that would really drive the timing decision around when should we have another booster and what should it look like? Should it be similar to what we have now, does it need to look different,” Pothof said.

Lukas Hurst of Monroe Center says he got the first two vaccine doses because of his asthma but he didn’t get the boosters. He says everyone should weigh the risks and decide what is best for them.

“If you’re worried, get it. If you’re not worried, you should be fine but if you have significant others and older family members, maybe take that into consideration,” Hurst said.