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Why People Over Age 50 Should Get an Updated COVID-19 Booster

Waist-up view of casually dressed woman sitting in family home and smiling at camera as she gestures with pride at adhesive bandage.

As we get ready for our third winter season with COVID-19, we’re tired of hearing about the pandemic. We would much rather focus on the truly important things in our lives—gathering with loved ones, taking time to relax and recharge, and thinking about all the things we want to make happen in the new year.

But getting sick can put a stop to those plans, and gathering indoors during the cold winter months helps COVID-19—along with RSV and flu—to spread more easily. COVID-19 continues to spread and evolve across King County and in the world around us. And if you or a loved one is over age 50, the chance of having severe disease and needing to visit the hospital is much higher.

Why should I get an updated booster? How is this one different?

The updated, “bivalent” COVID-19 booster now available is designed to protect us from Omicron, the most common form of the virus spreading right now. “Bivalent” means that the booster helps to protect against two different types of the virus, both the original strain and the Omicron strain.

The previous vaccines and boosters focused on protection against the original strain. They offered some protection against Omicron, but not as much as the updated bivalent boosters.

Because the updated booster targets both strains of COVID-19, it can help to prevent serious illness and death, especially for adults over age 50. Vaccination can also lower the risk for long COVID, which can lead to serious long term health problems. It is very important to stay up to date with your vaccinations and boosters, or they may offer less protection over time as COVID-19 continues to evolve.

How do I get the updated booster?

Public Health—Seattle & King County has drop-ins and appointments for the whole family at their vaccine clinic in the Auburn Outlet Mall, Fridays through Mondays, 10:30 a.m.–7 p.m. More information about this site, pop-up events, and vaccination options in cities throughout King County on or ask about boosters at a local pharmacy near you.

Get the updated booster if it has been at least two months since your last COVID-19 shot (either booster or primary vaccine series).

Updated boosters are free and no insurance or proof of citizenship is required.

If you need language interpretation or disability accommodation, e-mail or call 206-477-3977.

More information about update COVID boosters

Contributor Meredith Li-Vollmer is a risk communications specialist at Public Health—Seattle & King County.

A similar article was published December 5, 2022 in Public Health Insider.