As we all know, the threat of a rise in COVID-19 cases never went away since much of the population decided not to get vaccinated which would have helped prevent the spread of the disease.
Since Omicron’s quick rise and fall, other highly transmissible variants are becoming the dominant strain. These variants are also highly transmissible, albeit, not as deadly as the original COVID variant.
Regardless, this summer fun is diminished as the fog of more COVID fears spreads and employers dealing with more lost productivity from sick employees.
Since the highly transmissible omicron subvariants spread across the US, in some cases evading immunity from earlier infections, many are wondering if they are eligible for a second COVID booster shot and, if so, when?
So, who is eligible for which shots and what do we know about what’s ahead?
BA.5 is now dominant and getting boosted is important
Last week, the subvariant caused almost two out of every three new COVID-19 infections in the US, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For those who are fully vaccinated, but not boosted, experts say many are “overdue” as people with prior infection, even with BA.1 and BA.2, are likely still at risk for BA.4 or BA.5
Everybody over the age of 5, unless you just started getting vaccinated, should have had at least three vaccines.
It may not seem like a very big deal, because vaccines and better treatments have dramatically cut the risk of death from COVID-19.
However, we are still seeing about 300 to 350 people dying on average each day from COVID-19.
So, what about a 4th shot (or second booster)?
4th COVID-19 Shot Approved if Age 50 or Older
As of March 29, FDA and CDC has approved a second booster for “Healthy Adults 50 and Over” that are four months past their 1st booster dose (around Dec 1st or earlier). SCHEDULE NOW
Additionally, those over 12 with weakened immune systems are also eligible for a second booster shot.
Looking at the data, four doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 30% more protective against infection than three doses. This extra protection was 11% for Moderna’s vaccine.
4th COVID-19 Shot for Under Age 50
According to preliminary data from the CDC, adults under 50 had the highest rates of COVID-19 cases compared to other age groups, as of the end of June of this year.
US health officials have been in active discussions with the Food and Drug Administration on whether the agency will authorize a second booster vaccine for Americans under 50 years old.
We will update this article when we hear more about this approval process.
In addition to staying up to date on their vaccinations when eligible, Americans can also help bring down the levels of circulating virus by masking up and testing so that you can keep people separated who are infected.
New Vaccine in the Fall?
The updated vaccine in the fall is likely to be more protective against infection because it will cover a lot of the variants that have come along since delta and omicron. It is going to be a new formulation of the vaccine that’s been brought up to date.
What can employers do today to protect employees?
As we learn to live with COVID-19, employers must be prepared for future variant waves. But how?
At CNS Occupational Medicine, we offer services to contribute to your company’s Return-to-Work Plan, including:
- Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines and boosters
- Flu Vaccinations
- COVID-19 PCR Tests (99.9% accuracy, 24-48 hour turnaround)
- Rapid Antigen Testing
- Pre-hire and pre-shift screenings
- Pre-employment DOT Physicals and HAZWOPER Physicals
- Audiometric testing
- Respiratory/Spirometry Physicals
- Drug and alcohol testing programs
- OSHA compliant services
- and more
Start your customized health plan to meet your business needs and keep your employees healthy and safe.