If You're Looking To Get A COVID Booster, Should You Wait Until The Fall?

If you're due for another COVID-19 booster shot, you may be wondering whether you should get it now or wait until the fall when cases are predicted to surge again and a new vaccine is expected to become available. Unless you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, however, there is no reason to wait to get your second booster shot (via WebMD). In fact, experts recommend getting it right away, especially if you're immunocompromised. "There is a high level of community transmission right now, so it's better to get it as soon as you are eligible to allow time to build up antibodies," Hannah Newman, the director of infection prevention at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told WebMD.

According to Newman, side effects of the booster shot vary from person to person, but are short-lived and can be managed with medication. Some common side effects of the second booster shot include chills, fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes, among others. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend waiting at least three months before receiving your second booster shot.

Should you wait for the new booster shot?

In addition, a new COVID-19 booster shot is scheduled to be available in the fall, around the same time as the expected surge in COVID-19 cases (via UCHealth). The booster shot is designed to specifically target multiple subvariants of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 and has already been recommended for approval by an advisory panel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While the original vaccine and booster shots are effective at fighting Omicron and other highly transmissible variants, this Omicron-specific booster shot is more precise at targeting the strain and its many subvariants, including BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5. If you are currently eligible for a booster shot, however, you should not wait until the fall to get the new vaccine. Since many emerging variants of COVID-19 are highly contagious and continue to spread across the country, health experts recommend a second booster shot as soon as you're eligible.