The latest COVID boosters are in for the fall. Here’s what that means for you

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved updated COVID-19 boosters for everyone 6 months and older, adding another tool to navigate the ongoing pandemic.

Context: President Biden, whose wife recently tested positive for COVID-19, prompted clarification about his own situation from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
* Jean-Pierre stated that President Biden had tested negative recently and there were no updates to his schedule.

Expert Opinion: Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, provided insights on current risks associated with COVID-19.
* Wachter described the current state of the pandemic as worse than a few months ago, but better than most times over the last three to four years.
* He confirmed that cases tend to be milder now, due to widespread immunity from vaccination and previous infections, reducing the risk of severe sickness, hospitalization and death.
* Speaking on the updated boosters, Wachter expressed his belief that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may become an annual routine akin to getting a flu shot.

The Benefits: The updated boosters offer multiple advantages, depending on individual circumstances, including age and existing medical conditions.
* First, boosters reliably lower the chances of individuals becoming very sick, hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19. This benefit is most relevant for at-risk individuals.
* Other benefits include reducing the risk of long COVID, decreasing the chances of contracting COVID-19 for a couple of months, and slightly reducing the duration of illness if infected. Wachter recommends the booster for everyone, considering it safe and the benefits outweigh the risks.

Precautionary Measures: Wachter advises that the need for precautions such as mask-wearing, social distancing, or outdoor dining should still be considered, especially for vulnerable individuals or those living with them.
* The current level of COVID cases in the environment and the health of those you live with also factors into decisions about precautions.
* Wachter suggests vulnerable individuals consider masking, forgoing indoor dining, and taking Paxlovid if they contract COVID-19 during times of increased case numbers.

View original article on NPR

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