‘The timing of this booster is very important’: First updated COVID-19 booster now available

The CDC has approved updated COVID-19 boosters that add protection against the dominant Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

"For the first time since December 2020, these vaccines, our vaccines, have caught up with the virus," Ashish JHA, M.D., White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator said.

The new guidance provides updated boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older. Doctors say when you get the next shot is important for maximum protection.

"If you've had a prior infection or you got boosted within the last two months, now is not the time to come in and get this new bivalent booster. I think I'd wait a little bit," Dr. Jason Salemi, USF associate professor of epidemiology said.

RELATED: Moderna sues Pfizer, BioNTech claiming companies violated patents with COVID vaccine

Health officials say those outside of that timeframe should take advantage of the updated boosters as soon as possible. The hope is with colder weather coming more people will take advantage of a COVID-19 shot and flu shot at the same time.

COVID vaccine

File photo of COVID-19 vaccine.

"So, you get one in one arm and the other one in the other. So that is. It's permissible and you can do it," Dr. Manuel Gordillo, Sarasota Memorial Health Infectious Disease Specialist said.

RELATED: CDC panel recommends tweaked COVID-19 booster

In a statement CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D said:

"The updated COVID-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variant. They can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants. This recommendation followed a comprehensive scientific evaluation and robust scientific discussion. If you are eligible, there is no bad time to get your COVID-19 booster and I strongly encourage you to receive it."

Shipping has already started for the updated doses. The shots are available at CVS and Walgreens through an appointment.