PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Food & Drug Administration approved a new COVID-19 booster that fights omicron subvariants BA. 4 and BA. 5 — and could become available as soon as next week.
Already manufactured, the shot is on the fast track and ready to be sent out.

Next, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is expected to approve the booster on Thursday. The updated booster will be available to anyone over 12 years old who has had the primary shots. It has not yet been approved for younger kids.

More than 70% of Oregon and Washington residents are fully vaccinated, but less than half have gotten a booster. Besides seniors and those who are immunocompromised, KOIN 6 News wanted to know who else should be urged to get the booster.

“[Whether] my grandma’s living with me, or I’m going to go visit my parents who are in the nursing home or I have someone immunocompromised at home or I work in a place where there are vulnerable people, I’m going to get the vaccine so I don’t transmit to other people,” Dr. Marcel Curlin of Oregon Health & Science University said.

Some people are wondering if they should wait to get the latest booster until it’s closer to another surge, which is expected in late November or early December. Local vaccine experts warn that timing the shot is risky, as forecasts don’t always come true.

“Look what’s happening in Australia… the flu peak is pretty brisk, they’re getting a pretty good bump in flu which we haven’t seen in a couple of years and it’s coming earlier than expected,” Dr. Curlin said.

You can also get a flu shot and the COVID booster at the same time, both taking about two weeks to be fully protective.

Dr. Curlin added that there is an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID came on as a massive sort of wave, if you want to look at the big picture, and it’s going to taper down and be less severe and ultimately fade into the background of endemic,” Curlin said.