Boost now or wait? The dilemma of how to ride out COVID’s next wave

Gwyneth Paige didn’t want to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at first. With her health issues — hypertension, fibromyalgia, asthma — she wanted to see how other people fared after the shots. Then her mother got colon cancer.

“At that point, I didn’t care if the vaccine killed me,” she said. “To be with my mother throughout her journey, I had to have the vaccination.”

Paige, who is 56 and lives in Detroit, has received three doses. That leaves her one booster short of federal health recommendations.

Like Paige, who said she doesn’t currently plan to get another booster, some Americans seem comfortable with the protection of three shots. But others may wonder what to do: Boost again now with one of the original vaccines, or wait months for promised new formulations tailored to the latest, highly contagious omicron subvariants, BA. 4 and BA. 5?

The rapidly mutating virus has created a conundrum for the public and a communications challenge for health officials.

About 70% of Americans age 50 and older who got a first booster shot — and nearly as many of those 65 and older — haven’t received their second COVID booster dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency currently recommends two booster shots after a primary vaccine series for adults 50 and older and for younger people with compromised immune systems. Last week, multiple news outlets reported that the Biden administration was working on a plan to allow all adults to get second COVID boosters.

Monday, July 25, 2022 - 1:24pm