COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Some health leaders say new COVID-19 booster shots could be on the horizon and they recommend some Americans receive an additional dose in a matter of months.
Thursday, the CEO of Moderna announced the company is developing a booster shot to be more effective against the omicron variant. Research suggests the new, more contagious strain is also more resistant to the current vaccine and boosters than previous variants.
“What we’re finding is this booster is not going to last indefinitely – especially with the omicron,” said Dr. Anup Kanodia, a Central Ohio family physician. “We may be seeing that we may be able to adjust this a little bit and have better protection with it.”
Dr. Kanodia said the other vaccine manufacturers are almost certainly reviewing and tailoring their own boosters to fight emerging variants.
“If it does keep evolving and enough evolution that it does affect us, then maybe we need to adjust it on an every year or every 2 or 3 year basis,” he explained.
It’s a similar process for scientists tweaking the annual flu vaccine to maintain its efficacy.
Every year we tweak it. We say, ‘Ok these are the top three strains of the flu.’ We see it and we make a vaccine against the top 3 strains,” Kanodia explained.
Leslie Dent, a Columbus kindergarten teacher, was spending her day off Friday getting her booster shot at the Columbus Public Health community clinic at Westgate Community Center.
“I had the opportunity because school was canceled. And I have two sons that are in college so they needed to get their booster,” she said.
The mother of four said rising case numbers and hospitalizations are startling and she hopes the extra layer of protection from the booster shot could help keep Central Ohio’s students in school.
“I would like to stay in school teaching. Remote is not the best option for kindergarten. So I figured I want to keep myself safe and healthy and I want to keep my students safe and healthy,” she said.
Dr. Kanodia expects an updated version of the COVID-19 booster could eventually be recommended as frequently as the flu vaccine. Dent said she wouldn’t hesitate to return for another booster if and when it’s available.
“I think [it’s] the best option being safe and being healthy when you’re around so many people,” she said.
Columbus Public Health offers free COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters at nine different clinics throughout the metro. Some locations allow walk-in vaccinations. You can find details about times and locations by clicking here.