It’s a familiar time of year – kids are returning to school, stores are selling Halloween décor, and the leaves are starting to change. But the rise of autumn also brings a potential increase in illness. Before you make your fall plans, take preventative action against illnesses like COVID-19.
The Biden administration is expected to roll out a COVID booster campaign for those who are 12 and older as early as September, and the FDA recently authorized a booster that is updated to greater protect against newer COVID variants.. Americans under 50 are not currently eligible for a second booster, but that will likely change with updated recommendations from the CDC.
The effort aims to encourage updated booster doses that include COVID variant protections. According to the CDC data tracker, only 48.4 percent of Americans got their first booster, and even fewer eligible Americans have gotten their second booster. With the rise of the Omicron variants, health providers encourage adults to be proactive about preventive care.
Our mission at Intermountain Healthcare is to help people live the healthiest lives possible," said Simon Payne, MD, Regional Chief Medical Officer for Intermountain Healthcare. " And as we head into the fall and begin to spend more time indoors, I encourage you to make sure you are up to date with eligible boosters as this is the best way to keep you healthy and to prevent serious disease.”
Why are booster shots important?
In general, booster shots train your body to recognize sickness and defend itself. And most people have been getting booster shots their whole life! Whether those boosters were for Hepatitis A, Varicella, Tdap, or even flu shots, it’s become standard practice.
Like other booster shots, COVID boosters help keep antibodies up-to-date. They can enhance or restore protection against the virus in your body. It’s your best defense to stay out of the hospital if you contract the disease, and it can save lives in the long run.
An analysis by the Commonwealth Fund estimates that 80 percent of eligible people will get their first or second booster shot by the end of October, preventing around 160,000 deaths.
When am I eligible, and how do I get one?
It can be too early for another booster, but never too late for another booster. In other words, you wouldn’t want your first and second booster a month apart, but don’t worry if a long time has passed since your first dose.
Eligibility depends on each person’s unique factors. A CDC webpage tool can help determine your booster eligibility. Follow the steps in the “Find Out When You Can Get Your Booster” box to see if it’s booster time. If it’s not, check again when the fall COVID booster campaign happens.
So before preparing for Pumpkin Spice Latte season, evaluate your current defense against illness. And if missing autumn fun due to a virus sounds bad, don’t fall back on Covid-19 protection.
If you’re still concerned about your eligibility, or if you are ready to get booster-ed up, reach out to your doctor. Intermountain Healthcare COVID Resources can help you schedule an appointment.