Omicron-Specific Booster Expected to Be Available in ‘a Few' Weeks, COVID Czar Says

With updated shots coming soon, should you wait to get another dose or get boosted with the current vaccines now?

vaccine booster update could be necessary to fight infectious Omicron subvariants
Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

White House COVID coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on Wednesday that the newly updated COVID-19 boosters will be available to teens and adults "in a few short weeks."

"I believe it’s going to be available and every American over the age of 12 will be eligible for it," Jha told NBC News' Lester Holt.

The new boosters target the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, as well as the original strain of the virus. BA.5 accounts for nearly 90% of new COVID cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Food and Drug Administration will determine how well the updated shots protect against the virus, Jha said, adding that he expects that they should "work much better at preventing infection transmission and serious illness" than the current boosters.

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The subvariants are now responsible for 70% of new coronavirus cases, and their immunity to existing vaccines has concerned scientists. Here’s what you need to know about the subvariants.
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