RGH doctor speaks about potential impact of omicron variant-specific boosters

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Local health leaders are weighing in on the updated COVID boosters authorized by the FDA on Wednesday.

 The goal of the omicron variant-specific boosters is to prevent a potential winter surge.

 The boosters target the most common omicron strains we’re dealing with, BA4 and BA5. Dr. Emil Lesho is an infectious disease specialist at Rochester Regional Health.

Lesho said the updated boosters are important because we are still seeing people admitted to the hospital with the virus.

“The majority still in the ICU, even though there’s only three or four, you know two or three of them are not vaccinated or are not fully vaccinated,” Lesho said. “So, it’s important to become up to date on all of your shots.”

There’s one more step before a fall booster campaign begins: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must recommend who should get the additional shot. An influential CDC advisory panel will debate the evidence Thursday — including whether people at high risk from COVID-19 should go first.

The U.S. has purchased more than 170 million doses from both Pfizer and Moderna. Pfizer said it could ship up to 15 million of those doses by the end of next week.