Do You Need Another COVID Shot? Here’s What Experts Say

Do You Need Another COVID Shot? Here’s What Experts Say
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults 65 years and older receive another COVID booster this spring.

  • Health officials expect another rise in COVID cases this summer.

  • Experts explain what you need to know about your next COVID shot.

While the end of flu season may be in sight, the threat of coronavirus is still present. And if you are over 65 years of age, it may be time for another round of COVID boosters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced its recommendation that people at higher risk for the most severe complications of COVID—primarily those ages 65 and older—get a booster shot this spring. The CDC’s recommendation comes soon after the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted in support of the additional dose.

The advisers stated that another round of the vaccine given within the next few months would offer the best protection possible ahead of another likely rise in cases this summer. COVID is spreading year-round now at substantial levels, explains Richard Watkins, M.D., an infectious disease physician and professor of medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University. “Antibody levels decrease over time, so it is important to keep up-to-date with boosters and vaccines.”

It’s important for those at high risk of hospitalization to remain up to date with vaccinations, says Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, as the vaccine is highly effective at preventing severe disease. “Over two-thirds of [hospital] admissions are in those 65 years or older,” he notes.

The booster that will be offered to the at-risk groups this spring will have no change in the formulation since last fall, says Dr. Adalja. Rest assured, the same vaccine appears to protect against the current dominant variant JN.1, says Dr. Watkins.

The next round of shots is recommended for those 65 years and older whose last vaccination dose was at least four months ago, and at least three months since their last COVID infection, says Dr. Adalja.

As far as those who are immunocompromised but are younger than 65, Dr. Watkins says that they must wait at least two months between vaccine doses and should discuss their risks with their physician.

While buzz surrounding the virus appears to have waned, COVID continues to spread in the community and remains a significant threat to the health of older people and those with chronic illnesses, says Dr. Watkins.

The best way to keep yourself protected from the virus and long COVID complications is to stay on top of all of your vaccine doses, wash your hands, and wear a well-fitting mask when indoors during times of high transmission (like a kN95 or N95). If you have any questions about your eligibility for available vaccines, contact your doctor.

This article is accurate as of press time. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the coronavirus develops, some of the information may have changed since it was last updated. While we aim to keep all of our stories up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news. Always talk to your doctor for professional medical advice.

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