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Omicron Booster Released To Public

Doctors say vaccine is more effective than previous ones.
Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
A patient’s sample containing the coronavirus is tested in a CDC lap. Doctors hope that the availability of the new Omicron booster will help reduce the spread of the virus.

The Omicron booster is the newest COVID-19 booster recommended by doctors and it serves to fight the Omicron strain better than before. 

“[The Omicron booster] is one of the very best defenses against a constantly changing virus that is still killing more than 400 people a day,” Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Elizabeth Schlaudecker said. 

The virus has been less active over the summer but is still active in our communities. Schlaudecker has been a part of the teams of doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, working to fight against and stop COVID-19 since the beginning.  

“This booster protects against the original strain of the virus as well as the Omicron variants that have been circulating for a few months now,” Schlaudecker said. “In order to protect ourselves and other more vulnerable people around us, the booster is most likely our best tool.”

Schlaudecker claims that getting these additional boosters, like the Omicron booster, will help people as COVID-19 continues to spread.

“Those of us who have not had COVID-19 infection have vaccine immunity only, so we need to keep updating our vaccine immunity so that our immune systems can fight off the currently circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Schlaudecker said. 

These mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been given to millions and millions of people, and they continue to be very safe and effective.

— Dr. Elizabeth Schlaudecker

Chief of Cardiology at Dallas Children’s Medical Center Dr. Nicolas Madsen says that the Omicron booster can prevent the severity or stop other COVID-19 strains.

“The longer that COVID-19 circulates at high levels, the greater the chances that new, more evasive and more harmful strains will appear,” Madsen said. “By doing all that we can to limit the amount of COVID-19 in the community, the greater the likelihood that we can prevent new worrisome strains from emerging.”

COVID-19 restrictions may have decreased, but the effects of the pandemic are still in place. Madsen says it would be a mistake to ignore the disease right now, which is why boosters are vital.

 “Boosters enable us to continue our successful campaign to lessen many of COVID-19’s negative effects,” he said. 

Students like junior Milo Grossman have been getting regular vaccines and boosters since the start of the pandemic.

“I have a plan to get my fifth [vaccine] this weekend,” Grossman said.

Grossman believes that COVID-19 boosters should become a regular requirement for employees working at establishments as this is where it’s most likely to spread. However,  because COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are mRNA vaccines, doctors like Schlaudecker are able to switch the mRNA components to update future boosters as the virus changes.

“These mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been given to millions and millions of people, and they continue to be very safe and effective,” Schlaudecker said.

Targeting a specific strain makes the vaccine more powerful which is why doctors are suggesting that the community gets boosted before the winter arrives. Even though some patients may be hesitant to get the vaccine because of potential side effects, Schlaudecker says most people only experience a sore arm and there are simple ways to prevent anything else.  

“I encourage people to eat well, drink a lot of water, and get a good night’s sleep before and after the booster, as you want to give your body lots of energy to build a good immune response against the virus,” she said. 

Schlaudecker believes that COVID-19 vaccines could become yearly shots, given by doctors and would help significantly decrease the spread of the disease. She says with a yearly vaccine COVID-19’s severity could dwindle to that of the flu. 

“If it makes it easier to schedule and receive these vaccines, simultaneous administration is a good route to go,” she said.