Cincinnati.com: Should I get one of the new COVID-19 boosters?

UC expert says it's best to get boosted before winter

The new booster vaccines to protect against severe COVID-19 have been authorized for use, and they come with the bonus of extra protection against the omicron variants that have been infecting people for months.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna boosters on Aug. 31 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention followed with approval the following day. 

They're called bivalent vaccines because they target two strains of the virus, the original, which all previous vaccines have protected against, and the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

Cincinnati.com checked with local experts on COVID-19 boosters, including Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine. 

Dr. Fichtenbaum and Jassiel HIV study in lab.

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand

The experts cited by Cincinnati.com said the sooner you can get a booster shot the better, and to at least get it done before winter. 

"It's best to do this from September to November, in approach of the cold and flu season," said Fichtenbaum.

Fichtenbaum listed a range of ways boosters protect communities.

  • They help ensure fewer lost work and school days.
  • They prevent economic losses.
  • They mean fewer hospitalizations for respiratory-related illnesses during cold and flu season.

"When you add this booster to prior vaccination and prior infection immunity," he said, "there will be a lot more protection in the community against COVID."

Read the full story here.

Fichtenbaum was also interviewed about COVID-19 boosters on Cincinnati Edition on WVXU. Hear that interview here

Lead photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand

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