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KCRW: Want New Omicron Booster? Wait at Least 2 Months After Last Shot

KCRW program Press Play recently featured Rita Shane, PharmD, vice president and chief pharmacy officer at Cedars-Sinai, discussing who qualifies for the updated COVID-19 booster and how long patients must wait before getting the shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the updated vaccine in early September, and providers across Los Angeles quickly made the shot available. The updated booster addresses the original Wuhan strain of virus that causes COVID-19 as well as Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

Shane told Press Play host Michell Eloy that the new Omicron-specific shot would bolster the immune system and help the body fight the new versions of the virus.

“We know that our bodies are going to have a significant immune response, meaning the ability to combat infection,” Shane told Eloy. “For those individuals who get vaccination, we would expect to see reduced severity of the infection and reduced hospitalizations.”

Although human trials weren't conducted for the new booster, Shane said the shot was developed using the same technology as previous versions, which have already been studied in millions of people.

Shane told Eloy that to receive the new booster, patients must wait two months after receiving the first two doses of their initial COVID-19 vaccination or two months after their last booster shot. Individuals recently infected with the virus should wait three months.

Patients 12 and older are eligible for a single Pfizer dose, and those 18 and older are eligible for a single Moderna dose. Shane told Eloy that the booster shot could become an annual or biannual vaccination going forward.

Click here to listen to the complete segment from KCRW.