Ask Miss Rona is a Q&A series launched on Public Health’s Instagram to answer community questions related to various topic areas of COVID-19. Questions come from the public and are answered by subject matter experts at Public Health. Check out our Instagram at @kcpubhealth for more of our Miss Rona content. This blog is also available in Spanish-Spanish.

How long should you wait between boosters?

You will need to wait at least 2 months from your last booster to receive the new updated booster.

How long will the protection last? When will I need my next booster?

Based on previous boosters, we expect that the updated boosters will offer protection against serious illness, prolonged COVID, and hospitalization for at least 6 months. Importantly, the updated boosters are specifically tailored to protect against Omicron variants now circulating.

The CDC will likely offer an annual fall COVID booster tailored to the expected variants, similar to the annual flu shot.

Where can we get free COVID boosters in South King County? Any upcoming vaccine clinics?

The Public Health Vaccination Clinic at Auburn Outlet Mall has many updated COVID boosters for everyone ages 5+. Drop-ins are welcome or make an appointment. Open Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, 10:30am to 7:15pm.

More locations in many southern King County cities and pop-up events at kingcounty.gov/vaccine. Also ask your local pharmacy. COVID boosters and vaccinations are free at all locations.

Can you get Monkeypox vaccine (1st or 2nd dose) and COVID vaccine at the same time?

People, especially adolescents or older men under 30 years of age, may consider waiting 4 weeks after monkeypox vaccination because of the potential risk of myocarditis and pericarditis. However, if someone has received a COVID vaccine and needs a monkeypox vaccine because of exposure or other risk, they should not wait.

You can get flu or other vaccines at the same time as the COVID vaccine.

What if you test positive immediately after receiving the updated booster? Is it still effective?

The vaccine must still be effective. However, if you do get an infection, be sure to isolate yourself from others, wear a mask, and check with your healthcare provider. You may be eligible for COVID treatment.

How many people were the updated boosters tested on?

The updated boosters were tested on over 2,000 participants and have been given to nearly 20 million people so far. The updated boosters use the same basic COVID-19 vaccine formula as previous COVID-19 vaccines, with a slight protein change to target the Omicron variants (like how the basic flu vaccine gets an update each flu season). So far, more than 600 million doses of COVID-19 have been given in the US. They continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in US history.

Is it completely safe to “connect” now that we have completed the main doses, have the 1st booster and an updated booster?

There’s still a chance you’ll get infected, so we can’t say it’s “completely” safe. If you get COVID and have the updated booster, your chances of having a serious infection, hospitalization, or death are greatly reduced. Your chances of having a long COVID are also lower. However, you should consider precautions in crowded places, especially as the weather changes, where indoor gatherings are more common and air ventilation is not as good.

Where are updated boosters available for 5-11 year olds?

Updated boosters for children ages 5-11 are available FREE now at our Auburn Outlet Mall Vaccine Clinic. Appointments and appointments are welcome! For more information and a list of other local COVID vaccine providers and pharmacies, visit: kingcounty.gov/vaccine.

Why would they recommend this for healthy adults who are at low risk for COVID?

The virus is very unpredictable and some variants are more severe. Not getting vaccinated puts you at much higher risk of severe COVID-19, which can make you seriously ill for a long period of time (long COVID) and possibly cause permanent damage – even if you’re young and healthy. We still don’t know why COVID causes such severe illness in some people, so it’s impossible to predict whether you’ll have a mild or severe case if you’re exposed.

If I had COVID I should have waited to get an updated booster right?

If you have recently had a COVID infection, you can wait 2 months before receiving your booster. You can also choose to receive your booster now if it has been 2 months since your last booster dose, you no longer need to be in isolation and you have no symptoms of COVID. For more information, visit: kingcounty.gov/vaccine.

If someone didn’t get the last booster(s), should they have to get them before the new one?

Yes, we recommend that everyone get the updated booster to have the best protection, especially against the Omicron strains that the earlier vaccines are not as good against. If more than 6 months have passed since your initial series, you are also at increased risk of less protection due to weakened immunity.

How long does it take for the updated booster to take effect?

Full protection starts around 2 weeks after you receive your booster. It’s a good idea to get it now so you’re better protected as the colder weather approaches, causing everyone to head indoors for winter travel and the approaching holidays.

What about pregnant people and updated boosters?

If they get sick with COVID, pregnant people are more likely to need hospitalization and intensive care. This also applies to premature babies and infants. There are no increased risks or adverse outcomes in pregnant people who have received COVID-19 vaccines. That’s why we strongly urge everyone who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant to get the updated booster.

Thanks for your questions! More information about children and the COVID vaccine: kingcounty.gov/vaccine/youth.

Originally published on November 3, 2022

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