What you need to know about fall booster shots of coronavirus vaccine

Coronavirus booster shots formulated to thwart the original virus and the omicron variant have been authorized by federal regulators. (Hannah Beier/Bloomberg News)

New coronavirus boosters are just around the corner following authorization by federal regulators and a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The updated shots are designed to provide a stronger shield against the BA. 4 and BA. 5 omicron subvariants still causing tens of thousands of infections and hundreds of deaths every day in the United States.

The boosters will be part of a campaign by the federal government, to be kicked off within days, to persuade Americans to bolster their immune defenses before a potential surge in covid-19 cases as cooler weather arrives in the fall. Food and Drug Administration officials say some forecasting models predict an increase in cases in coming months, with a peak in late November or early December.

But the updated boosters have generated some controversy and confusion. Here’s what you need to know:

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Where do things stand? See the latest covid numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people.

The state of public health: Conservative and libertarian forces have defanged much of the nation’s public health system through legislation and litigation as the world staggers into the fourth year of covid.

Grief and the pandemic: A Washington Post reporter covered the coronavirus — and then endured the death of her mother from covid-19. She offers a window into grief and resilience.

Would we shut down again? What will the United States do the next time a deadly virus comes knocking on the door?

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

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