The FDA has approved a new booster shot specifically targeted for omicron variants for emergency use. With COVID levels predicted to rise in the colder months, State Epidemiologist Patsy Kelso says this new booster shot is going to provide better protection than the last booster. This formula is “bi-valent”, meaning it targets both the original strain of COVID and the omicron variants.

Since last week, new COVID-19 related hospital admissions rose to 58. Kelso says she wouldn’t be surprised if COVID infections rose again this winter. “Based on what we’ve seen in the past couple of years, we do have increases in Covid transmission during the regular fall/winter respiratory virus season. So it’s really important to be as protected as you can.”

The FDA introduced an updated booster, and if the CDC votes to recommend the shot, disbursement will quickly follow suit.

“We’ve already pre-ordered out initial allocation of the vaccine, over 17,000 doses, and we expect them to ship as soon as the CDC recommendation comes out and arrive in Vermont; around September 6th, and there would be clinics available as early as September 7th.

“These new bivalent boosters are available for anyone who has had at least their primary series. As long as it’s been at least two months since your last dose, you can get this new booster. We’re not prioritizing different groups, we’re just saying it’s recommended for everyone.”

Some Vermonters say they are open to receiving the shot as soon as it is available, while others say they want to wait until more information is available.

Kelso also noted that side effects of this shot will be similar to previous side effects including injection site soreness and fatigue.