ST. LOUIS – The Washington University School of Medicine is deeply involved in studies that will lead to the new COVID booster shot this fall.

The FDA recently called for all boosters to specifically target the COVID strain that is currently infecting people: the BA. 4 and BA. 5 omicron subvariants. Washington University doctors say the new booster will cover both and will likely be available in October, possibly as early as September. The key is helping people maintain immunity.

“People have this sense that natural immunity is somehow better but as far as your body is concerned and your immune system is concerned, immunity is immunity,” said Dr. Rachel Presti, medical director of the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Unit. “Your antibodies are the same whether they came from the spike protein from the vaccine or the spike protein of the virus. The virus does a heck of a lot more damage to your body to get that immunity than the vaccines, so it is beneficial.”

Doctors say people who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster are still getting COVID, though it’s less serious, and vaccinated individuals don’t spread the virus as easily as those who are not.