What to Know About the New Omicron Booster – Cleveland Clinic Newsroom

CLEVELAND – With the new Omicron booster now available to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, some people may wonder how it works or if they need it.

“The bivalent booster contains two different mRNA components, so half of it helps protect against the original strain of the COVID virus,” explained Kimberly Giuliano, MD, pediatrician for Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “It is 50% the same as the vaccine we have been receiving since the beginning. The remaining 50% codes for proteins that protect us against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

Moderna and Pfizer both offer the new omicron booster. However, they have different age restrictions.

Moderna is only available to ages 18 and older, while Pfizer may be available to those ages 12 and older.

Dr. Giuliano said the side effects are similar to what a person would experience with the original vaccine. For example, injection site pain, fatigue, headache, and chills.

There is a risk of myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart, but she points out that the risk is even higher if you were to contract COVID.

So what if you’ve already received the original vaccine and booster? You should still get this one, but you’ll have to wait at least two months before you do.

“The two-month interval is a recommended minimum, so it’s okay to wait a bit longer if you’re a healthy person without risk factors and live with healthy people without risk factors where you’re worried that even if you had a mild illness you could pass it on and cause a more serious illness in someone else,” Dr Giuliano said.

With a more active flu season expected, she also recommends getting the flu shot. The vaccine can be safely administered with the omicron booster.

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