SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – In an effort to try and get ahead of another possible COVID-19 surge, the rollout of second booster shots is in full swing.

The Omicron subvariant BA.2 is now the dominant COVID strain circulating in New York and it’s contributing to the high case count in Central New York.

Many New Yorkers are now eligible to get a second COVID booster shot, but how do you know if you qualify or when to schedule your appointment to get the shot?

In one of Your Stories, NewsChannel 9 spoke with the Chief Medical Officer of St. Joseph’s Health, Dr. Philip Falcone, to answer those questions.

SECOND BOOSTER DOSES: WHO’S ELIGIBLE?

  • Adults ages 50 years and older may choose to receive a second booster dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) at least four months after their first booster dose.
  • New Yorkers ages 18–49 years who received the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as both their primary series dose and initial booster dose may receive a second booster dose of an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after their first booster dose.
  • New Yorkers ages 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may choose to receive a second booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) at least four months after their first booster dose.

If you are eligible now, how soon should you book your appointment?

“It really just depends on your own risk profile. You know, at this point, people who are immunocompromised should probably be doing it sooner than later. The rest of the people who are eligible but aren’t really in a situation where they’re healthy, I don’t know if they have to rush out and do anything. There is certainly some time to think about it.”

Dr. Philip Falcone, Chief Medical Officer, St. Joseph’s Health

Let’s say you contracted COVID and only recently recovered. Should you wait to get your second booster?

“Anybody who’s had the disease does have a certain amount of antibodies from the actual infection itself,” Dr. Falcone said. “It may or may not really benefit much from another booster dose at this point.”

Some viewers have also asked the Your Stories team if reactions to the second booster shot are more or less severe than those from the primary vaccine series or first booster shot.

Dr. Falcone wants to make it clear there is not enough evidence at this point to conclude any differences between the shots.

It sounds like that’s some anecdotal evidence, which everybody obviously has their own individual reactions when they receive a vaccine. It’s hard to tell. I don’t think that right now we’ve seen any significant differences in the reactions to this fourth dose or second booster dose than we saw from the first sets.

Dr. Philip Falcone, Chief Medical Officer, St. Joseph’s Health

No matter what group you fall under, Dr. Falcone encourages you to consult with your primary care doctor before making any decisions.

The FDA has a special, day-long meeting scheduled with independent advisers for Wednesday, April 5, to start planning for the next round of boosters.

If you have a question or story for the Your Stories team, call us at (315) 446-9900 or send an email to ‘yourstories@localsyr.com.’