New COVID-19 booster shots will arrive at UF next week following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of updated vaccines targeting Omicron subvariants Wednesday.
UF Health has pre-ordered redesigned boosters and is expecting the shipment early next week, according to a UF Health Shands Hospital email Friday. The health system also temporarily paused booster administration of the current Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to those 12 and older until it receives the new boosters.
There will be two new boosters: one made by Pfizer-BioNTech that can be administered to people as young as 12 years old and one by Moderna for those 18-years-old and up. UF Health outpatient pharmacies and UF Health Physicians practices will also have the updated boosters.
People must wait at least two months since they received their last COVID-19 booster dose or have completed their initial series of vaccinations to receive an updated booster, according to the email.
The Omicron COVID-19 subvariants, such as BA.5, spread more easily than other variants, and anyone infected can spread it to others, regardless of vaccination status or whether they show symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The BA.5 subvariant accounts for around 88% of total COVID-19 cases in the United States.
In general, the Omicron variant causes less severe symptoms than other variants; however, a rise in the infected population may lead to more hospitalizations and deaths, according to the CDC.
The symptoms for the Omicron variant are similar to previous variants, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing or body aches.
The current mask guidelines for UF Health require masks be worn in all clinical facilities and patient-facing areas; this includes cafeterias, waiting rooms and lobbies. In non-clinical buildings and spaces, masks are recommended.
Those seeking COVID-19 booster appointments can search at vaccines.gov, text their zip code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find local locations, according to the UF email.
Melanie Peña is a second-year business and journalism major. When she's not designing a graphic or writing an article, she's probably making jewelry or exploring coffee shops in Gainesville.