DETROIT (WXYZ) — On Tuesday, both the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on a second COVID-19 booster shot for adults 50 and over.
It's the fourth dose since the vaccine first rolled out.
This comes as the omicron sub-variant BA.2 becomes the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S.
The sub-variant is no more severe than the original omicron, but it is more contagious and harder to detect.
The FDA had previously authorized a fourth dose for some immunocompromised people, but this extends it to a much larger group.
"I've had all my shots and if necessary, I will have my second booster,” Belinda Boatwright said.
"I haven't gotten sick from any of them," said Jayjuan Jones, who has had three shots so far. "So, I guess I plan on getting it.”
The fourth dose is being recommended at least four months after the initial booster, which right now, just 36% of Michiganders over age 12 have received. Of those considered fully vaccinated, about 60% have received a booster.
“I haven’t gotten vaccinated. I'm still on the fence with it,” 47-year-old Ronita Phillips said. “I just want to see if everyone else is fine before I take it, so I'm just waiting to see.”
Dr. Dennis Cunningham, the system director of Infection Control and Prevention at Henry Ford Health, says he plans to schedule his fourth dose soon. He recommends others do the same, saying it’s effective at preventing severe cases and people should not wait until the next surge.
“Get the vaccine sooner than later," Cunningham said. "By the time case rates go up, it’s already spreading rapidly and it may be too late to stop a mini-surge from occurring.”
The CDC says the recommendation acknowledges the increased risk of disease for certain age groups. It’s unclear when a fourth dose would be available for younger adults, but healthy people in that age group may not be as eager to get it.
“I'm already triple shotted, so I don't know if I would get the fourth one," 25-year-old Nicholas North said. "I'm a relatively younger guy.”
While the creation of a new vaccine that could work against all variants is in the works, Cunningham says that’s likely months if not a year away. Those at risk should get added protection now instead of waiting.
“I would encourage people 50 and older to get that booster dose if they haven't already or get your second booster dose if you’re eligible," Cunningham said. “My guess is this is going to be similar to influenza, where this is going to be an annual vaccine, but that depends what variants come down the road.”
The FDA also announced an advisory committee will be meeting next Wednesday, April 6 to discuss future COVID-19 booster shots and the potential development of variant specific shots.