People walk near a Covid-19 test site in Times Square on May 12, 2022 in New York City.
Liao Pan | China news service | Getty Images
People who have recently contracted Covid can wait a few months to get a new omcron booster, White House Covid Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said Tuesday.
Studies have found that people who contracted Covid after vaccination have substantial protection against the virus, although the data is based on omicron variants that no longer circulate in the United States and immunity wanes over time.
“If you’ve had a recent infection or been vaccinated recently, it’s reasonable to wait a few months,” Jha told reporters at a new conference on Tuesday.
Jha said everyone else 12 years of age and older should receive a booster injection as soon as possible, especially the elderly, people with serious medical conditions, and those with weak immune systems.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleared boosters that target the dominant omicron sub-variant BA.5. People 12 years of age and older can benefit from the new vaccination at least two months after completing their two-dose primary series or their most recent booster with the old vaccines.
People who have been vaccinated and recently affected by Covid can wait three months to get their next injection, according to CDC directions. Studies have shown that waiting a few months after an infection boosts can result in a stronger immune response from the injection, according to the CDC.
Jha told reporters in July that breakthrough infections in vaccinated people have become more common since the omicron BA.5 variant became the dominant form of Covid over the summer. Omicron BA.5 is still the most contagious and immune form of the virus, Jha said at the time.
It’s unclear how long people are protected after recovering from a BA.5 infection, Jha said in July. The CDC previously thought the infection provided around 90 days of protection, although it has become more common for people to be reinfected before then, Jha said.
Modern clinical trial data on omcron BA.1 shots showed that people with a previous infection who received the booster had the strongest immune response. This means that people who were previously infected and who received an omicron booster could have longer protection against Covid, according to a presentation from last week’s CDC committee meeting on strokes.
People who received three injections with the original vaccines and then contracted Covid had more than 70% protection against infection by the omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar. People who received two doses and contracted Covid had over 50% protection against infections.
But the study may not translate well to the United States because Qatar’s population is much younger with only 9% of its residents aged 50 and over, compared to over a third of all Americans. Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 also no longer circulate in the United States. However, the now dominant BA.5 variant is very similar to the previous ones.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said on Tuesday that public health officials are particularly focused on ensuring that people aged 50 and over are empowered this month.
The CDC eliminated a fourth dose of the old vaccines in March for this age group. According to data from the CDC, a fourth dose was found to be approximately 56% effective in preventing hospitalization from omicron BA.5 four months after receiving the injection.
U.S. health officials believe the new boosters will provide stronger and longer-lasting protection against Covid because the shots target the omicron BA.5 variant, while the old vaccines were developed against the original strain of the virus that emerged in Wuhan, China. in 2019.