Should you wait to get a Covid booster?

Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 5:23 PM MST|Updated: Aug. 18, 2023 at 5:54 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -We’ve reported on an uptick in Covid cases and on the new variant - and that has some wondering if it’s time to get a booster.

The 13 News Fact Finders learned, as with many medical questions, the answer depends on you.

If you’ve never had a Covid shot, or it’s been a long time, you could go ahead and get one now for protection going into the season when sickness picks up.

However, if you’re relatively up to date, you should know that the big drug makers are adapting their formulas to target the new variant. You should consider waiting until those new formulas are available, expected late next month or early October. We talked with Dr. Jay W. Lee, a board member with the American Academy of Family Physicians.

“My understanding is, the fall booster should have some coverage over that, which I think will be helpful, particularly for those (for whom) it’s been about six to nine months since they received the booster,” said Lee, who personally fits into that group.

It’s a balancing act of waiting for the vaccine that best reflects current variants, but also the dominant variant, EG-5, now responsible for close to 20% of cases. The updated vaccine may not be a perfect fit - but it will be as close as you can get to produce antibodies to the strains most likely to strike.

Also, Lee pointed out, by waiting until late September or early October, which is when you might be used to getting your flu vaccine, you have the best chance of having the strongest immunity when cases are expected to peak.

As always, if you’ve had Covid recently, wait a few months before getting any vaccine.

In the meantime, Dr. Lee says he’ll be doing those behaviors we got so used to in order to avoid infection: avoiding crowds, washing hands, you know the drill. He recommends you do the same in our KOLD Web Extra.