A: In the U.S., people 12 + years old can get the updated bivalent booster 2 months after they received the last dose in the primary series or a dose of the original booster. People who were recently infected may decide to wait a little longer to maximize the benefit of getting boosted.
TL;DR: If you are eligible to get an updated booster, it makes sense to get it now given it is well-matched to the currently circulating strains of the omicron variant. If you were recently infected, you can wait an extra month.
Anyone 12+ years old can get the updated bivalent booster as soon as 2 months after the primary series or most recent dose of the original booster. Kids 5-11 years old can only get the original booster and must wait for 5 months after their last primary series dose. A booster dose is not currently authorized for kids 6 months-4 years. Additional considerations for those who are immunocompromised can be found here.
While it is safe for people who were recently infected to get a booster (original or bivalent) 10 days after their illness (i.e., when they have ended their isolation period), they might decide to wait up to 3 months from the start of symptoms or a positive test (if no symptoms) to get boosted. The reason they can wait is that the immune response triggered by infection will provide some protection against getting infected again for a few weeks to months.
For many of us that haven’t been infected recently, however, it has been way longer than 2 months since our last booster, and many people never got the original booster. Given the bivalent booster is well-matched to the currently circulating strains of the omicron variant, it makes sense to get boosted when eligible to help decrease risk of infection and prevent severe disease if you do get infected.
If this all sounds confusing, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made an on-line tool that can help you determine when you should get boosted (and which type you are eligible for based on age, number and type of previous doses and immunocompromised status), which you can find at the link here.
For more information on booster doses, click here.
For our past post on the updated boosters, click here.