Folks lately contaminated with Covid can wait to obtain an Omicron booster

People walk past a Covid-19 testing site in Times Square on May 12, 2022 in New York City.

Liao pan | China news service | Getty Images

People recently infected with Covid may wait a few months before receiving a new Omicron booster, Dr. Ashish Jha, White House Covid response coordinator, on Tuesday.

Studies have found that people who contract Covid after being vaccinated have significant protection against the virus, although the data is based on Omicron variants that are no longer circulating in the US and immunity wanes over time.

“If you’ve recently had an infection or recently been vaccinated, it’s reasonable to wait a few months,” Jha told reporters during a new conference on Tuesday.

Jha said everyone else aged 12 and over should get a booster shot as soon as possible, especially the elderly, those with serious medical conditions and those with weakened immune systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released boosters last week that target the dominant subvariant omicron BA.5. People 12 years and older are eligible for the new vaccine at least two months after completing their primary two-dose series or their last booster dose of the old vaccines.

People who have been vaccinated and recently contracted Covid can wait three months to get their next shot, according to guidance from the CDC. Studies have shown that waiting a few months after an infection to get boosted can result in a stronger immune response to the vaccine, according to the CDC.

Jha told reporters in July that breakthrough infections had become more common in vaccinated people since the omicron BA.5 variant became the dominant form of Covid in the summer. Omicron BA.5 is the most contagious and immune-preventable form of the virus to date, Jha said at the time.

It’s unclear how long people are protected after recovering from BA.5 infection, Jha said in July. The CDC previously thought infection offered protection for about 90 days, although it has become more common for people to become reinfected before then, Jha said.

Data from Moderna’s clinical study of omicron BA.1 syringes showed that people with a previous infection who received the booster had the strongest immune response. This means people who were previously infected and receive an Omicron booster shot may have longer protection against Covid, according to a presentation from last week’s CDC committee meeting on the gunshots.

People who received three shots of the original vaccines and then contracted Covid had more than 70 percent protection from infection by the Omicron BA.1 and BA, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Weill Cornell Medicine .2 variants Qatar. People who received two doses and contracted Covid had more than 50 percent protection from infection.

But the study may not translate well to the US, as Qatar’s population is much younger, with only 9% of residents aged 50 or older, compared to more than a third of all Americans. Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 are also no longer in circulation in the US. However, the BA.5 variant that dominates today is very similar to those earlier ones.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said Tuesday that public health officials are particularly focused on making sure people age 50 and older are empowered this month.

The CDC approved a fourth dose of the legacy vaccines for this age group in March. According to CDC data, four months after receiving the vaccine, a fourth dose prevented approximately 56% of hospitalizations for omicron BA.5.

US health officials believe the new boosters will offer stronger and more durable protection against Covid as the shots target the Omicron BA.5 variant, while the old vaccines were developed against the original strain of the virus, which was discovered in Wuhan, China in 2019 , occured.

CNBC Health & Science

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