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Will we need a COVID-19 vaccine every year?

Health care workers answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Rhea Boyd, MD, MPH explains that if new COVID-19 variants continue to emerge, we might need a vaccine every year but we don’t know yet.

I don’t know is the honest answer to that. It’s very possible that if we continue to see new strains of COVID emerge, like we saw with the Delta strain that in the future, there could be a strain that the vaccines that we currently have available don’t treat well or aren’t effective at preventing us from being infected with. And, so, it’s possible that in the future, we could need new vaccines for COVID or a different vaccine every year for COVID.

A good example of another illness that requires that is the seasonal flu. Each year, we have a different flu vaccine because flu changes so much year to year that the prior year’s protection from the vaccine isn’t necessarily protecting you the following year. That may be true of COVID if we continue to see new variants of COVID. And, unfortunately, we’ll just have to wait and see.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decisions. Click here for vaccine FAQs from the CDC.

Stay up to date with your COVID vaccine, including boosters!

COVID vaccines are safe and effective for everyone ages 6 months and older.

Immunity wanes over time. Keep up your protection against COVID by getting boosted when eligible.

Updated (bivalent) boosters are now available for adults and children 6 months and older.