(NewsNation) — An updated COVID-19 booster will soon be available for Americans ahead of an expected fall or winter rise in cases.
The CDC signed off on the new booster, which targets the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants.
Health officials are recommending the booster for anyone 12 years of age or older. It’s marks the first update to coronavirus vaccines cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, joined “NewsNation Prime” to speak about the new booster.
“What we know is that with the omicron variant circulating, our ordinary vaccines targeted against the ancestral strain to this virus are not very good at preventing infection,” he said. “They are still intact when it comes to what matters: prevention of serious disease. So there was this idea to update the boosters to better match what’s actually circulating.”
While there’s still not a lot of data collected about the updated booster, Adalja believes it could be beneficial for high-risk individuals.
“We don’t have a lot of clinical data. But certainly for high-risk individuals these boosters are going to be something that are beneficial,” Adalja said. “They are going to be no worse than the current boosters. Hopefully, they’re going to be better. It’s just that we don’t have a lot of data at this time.”
Adalja said respiratory viruses like COVID-19 tend to accelerate their transmission in the fall and winter months when it gets colder. He said since COVID will likely stick around, the goal of the vaccines is to make infections less severe.
Learn more about vaccine eligibility here.