We know…
  • The Omicron subvariants are triggering another surge of COVID cases across the US. As of June 1, BA.2.12.1 sublineage makes up nearly 63 percent of cases sequenced in May. We know transmissibility is greater for these subvariants.
  • We are keeping an eye on BA.4 and BA.5, first identified in South Africa earlier this year. We know these subvariants do partially evade immunity from vaccination and previous infection. These two variants seem to be picking up quickly and could outpace the current subvariant.
  • We expect COVID case rates to be much higher than reported as many are now using rapid testing which does not get reported to public health. While hospitalization rates are higher, they are fortunately still well below rates seen during the 2021 surges. Wastewater surveillance is actively being used to trend disease prevalence also.
  • At the end of May, the CDC strengthened recommendations for those age 50 and older to move ahead with a second booster dose if it’s been at least four months since their prior vaccine. Children 5–11 should also receive a second booster dose if at least five months from their last shot.
  • A fourth COVID vaccine option will be available soon as the protein subunit vaccine Novavax was authorized by the FDA on June 7, 2022.
We Kinda Know… but requires more research
  • The COVID vaccine for infants and children 6 months–5 years old could be available as early as June 21. The FDA is meeting on June 14 and June 15 to discuss this approval and the ACIP will meet soon after.
  • A new study shows that COVID vaccination during pregnancy could protect against infant infection in the early months of life.
  • A surge in cases has led to wider use of the antiviral pill Paxlovid, and thus more reported incidents of “rebound” cases where a patient begins to feel better, only for symptoms to return a few days to a week later (9–12 days later, according to a recent case series). The rebound case may leave one infectious as well, requiring re-isolating. Doctors are reconsidering the treatment’s use in lower-risk patients while Pfizer monitors the data.
  • For Fall 2022, Moderna is presenting data on a bi-valent COVID booster – data should be presented this quarter. We are closely monitoring the fall 2022-2023 season and which protection may be most effective.