PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Doctors are growing concerned over people delaying getting a COVID booster shot at a time when omicron infection rates and hospitalizations are surging.

As almost 75% of Oregon adults are fully vaccinated, less than half of them have gotten the third booster shot. 

That third shot is what some doctors call a ‘game changer’ — upping immunity to protect against getting hospitalized from omicron and it triggers a response even quicker than the first shots. 

Moderna and Pfizer are working on an omicron specific vaccine, however, it will take months before it’s ready for the public.

Even though we may be past the surge of omicron by the time a specific omicron vaccine gets government approval, scientists say the variant will not disappear with so many people still unvaccinated.  

Chief Medical Officer for Moderna, Dr. Paul Burton, told KOIN 6 News on Thursday that people should not wait to get their booster.

Oregon Health Authority’s list of vaccine clinics

As for what’s ahead, Dr. Burton believes there will likely be a combination flu and coronavirus vaccine that could be given yearly.

The research is showing you are still protected with antibodies 6-8 months after a booster — which you can get 5 months after your second shot.