CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise, several people are wondering if they should get their second booster now if they’re eligible, or wait until the fall when a newer version is released.

Based on our rates of booster vaccinations here in Central New York, there are a lot of people still eligible to get a second booster shot. Dr. Stephen Thomas, Global Health Director at Upstate says there’s a group that should definitely get all their boosters.

“Folks over 65 or folks that have pre-existing medical problems, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, those folks should absolutely consider getting a fourth dose,” says Dr. Thomas.

If you’re 50 or older and don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions, Dr. Thomas recommends talking to your doctor to weigh the risks and benefits. He says the second booster should keep you from getting very sick, and instead turn the infection into something moderate or mild you can manage at home. Work is happening right now on new vaccines to battle Covid, come fall.

“The fact that the FDA is calling for manufacturers to create new variant vaccines. The fact that they’ve already been able to share the data that was created over the last couple of months, I would expect that by fall,” says Dr. Thomas.

Dr. Thomas added, “It’s pretty clear now — not just from data in the U.S. but globally — that folks who haven’t been vaccinated they have the absolute highest risk, folks who have two doses of the vaccine their risk gets less, three doses their risk is less than two doses and if you get four doses, especially in that special population I was mentioning it further decreases your risk even with omicron variants.”

The White House COVID-19 response team adds getting a booster now does not prevent you from being able to get a new version of the vaccine in the fall, aimed more toward omicron.

Kinney Drugs released this statement to NewsChannel 9:

“It is very difficult to predict the path that the COVID-19 virus may take. Kinney pharmacists recommend following the guidance of the CDC and getting a booster if it is recommended for your age and health condition(s). People are best protected from severe illness when they stay up-to-date with their vaccines, and boosters can increase and/or restore protection that may have decreased over time. The CDC maintains a useful and easy-to-use tool to determine if and when individuals should get a second booster.”

John Marraffa, Jr., President, Kinney Drugs