Two new, small studies are stirring up more controversy over the new COVID-19 boosters, updated to match the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 strains. The research suggests the shots are no better than old boosters.
But that doesn’t mean we should write them off — and certainly doesn’t mean that getting one won’t save lives. The studies are small, and data might have been collected too soon to truly demonstrate their value.
The wisdom over the U.S. plan for fall boosters has been hotly debated pretty much from its inception. Pfizer and Moderna spent months testing a booster based on an earlier omicron variant, but by the time regulatory authorities needed to make a decision on the composition of fall boosters, BA.4 and BA.5 had taken over. The Food and Drug Administration asked the companies to change course and make shots targeting those highly contagious omicron family members.