CHI Health warns of possible new COVID surge; 4th vaccine shot ‘likely’

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A new COVID-19 variant that’s said to be even more contagious than omicron is on health officials’ radar.

There is a surge of a BA.2 in other parts of the world, and CHI Health says that surge could be coming here in 8 to 12 weeks.

The variant has already been detected in the U.S., and last week, Nebraska reported 17 cases, but doctors are concerned that number could grow.

CHI Health believes that the weather warming and schools letting out for the summer will help fight the potential surge, but doctors say there is no better tool in the toolbox than the vaccine and booster shots.

And another round of boosters may be needed, they say.

“Most likely we will need a 4th dose,” said Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan, chief of the infectious disease division at CHI Health. “For me, how I think about it is — influenza vaccine we need every year — we might be at a point where we might need a yearly vaccine or we might be OK with a fourth vaccine, time will tell.”

There’s no word yet on when those boosters might come.

Health officials are collecting data on a fourth dose, with some studies coming from Israel, where they have started giving fourth shots.

So far, researchers say it’s been slightly helpful.

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