Unvaccinated people won’t be eligible for the Omicron-specific Covid booster

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Newly updated Covid booster shots designed to target omicron’s BA.5 subvariant should be available within in the next three weeks. That begs an important question: Who’s going to be eligible to get them?

The short answer: anyone ages 12 and up who has completed a primary vaccination series, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson tells CNBC Make It. It’s unlikely to matter whether you’ve received any other booster doses or not before, the spokesperson says — but if you’re unvaccinated, you won’t be eligible for the updated formula until you complete a primary series with the existing Covid vaccines.

The longer answer is somewhat more complex, because it depends on which booster shots get approved and when.

Pfizer’s “bivalent” shot, which targets both the original Covid strain and omicron’s BA.5 subvariant, is expected to be authorized first. The CDC says it’ll likely come with a wide eligibility swath: the full group of vaccinated Americans ages 12 and up.