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NM state epidemiologist recommends a new COVID booster in the fall, maybe sooner if 65+


New Mexico is seeing a “small uptick” in COVID cases, according to Deputy Health Secretary and Acting State Epidemiologist Laura Parajón. She recommended those under 65 get another vaccine booster when updated versions that target the XBB.1.5 subvariant are approved. Older New Mexicans, she said, may want to get theirs sooner.

Parajón told KUNM that COVID is rising in New Mexico, though less than in other parts of the country and with a smaller wave than previous years.

She said people wanting to keep the virus at bay should mask, avoid crowded indoor spaces and test if they have any symptoms.

“Not any one thing that you do is perfect in COVID,” she said. “It’s like a swiss cheese where there are little holes — but the more things you layer in terms of protection, the more protected you’ll be.”

Another layer is vaccination. She recommended most people who got the Omicron booster last fall get the updated booster when it becomes available before winter sets in.

Those who are 65 and older are eligible to get boosted every six months. But if they’re in that window, should they get one now while cases are up or wait for an updated vaccine?

“That’s kind of those questions you have to ask your doctor,” Parajón said, encouraging seniors to weigh their risk factors in making the call, including whether they have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or are immunocompromised.

NBC News reports Pfizer says its updated booster could be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month.

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
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