Welcome to our Just Wondering series, in which local pros tackle your most burning health and fitness questions. Got a question of your own? Send it here!
The wait’s finally over—the FDA and CDC just greenlit the latest COVID-19 booster shots for all Americans 12 years of age and older. Does this mean that health professionals encourage everyone to get their vax now? Or can the “average” healthy person afford to wait? A local pediatrician and internist weighs in:
“The new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is made and works the same way as the original vaccines. The only difference is that in addition to stimulating an immune response to the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, it also creates immunity against the BA-4 and BA-5 Omicron variants. Right now in Minnesota, as is the case in the rest of the country, BA-4 and BA-5 are the most common strains of infection, so this booster will offer excellent protection against severe infection. I recommend that people get the new vaccine as soon as its available so that they are as protected as possible going into the fall and winter respiratory virus season.” Hannah Lichtsinn, MD, internist and pediatrician at Hennepin Healthcare, and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Dr. Lichtsinn adds that if Covid got you before you got your booster, it’s OK to wait another 90 days before rolling up your sleeve. “The CDC says you don’t have to wait, but it’s probably the best thing you can do.”
For the utmost efficiency (calling all time-starved parents!), remember that it’s not only convenient, it’s safe to get a two-for-one—a COVID-19 booster and flu shot all at once.