The New Normal: The future of COVID-19 vaccines - will they beat back another surge?

Next-gen COVID-19 vaccines -- those that target the highly transmissible Omicron variant -- are going into arms in a matter of weeks.
Will they beat back another anticipated COVID-19 surge?
News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen was joined by Dr. Matthew Harris, the medical director for the Northwell COVID-19 vaccination program and a specialist in pediatric emergency medicine, to talk about the future of COVID-19 vaccines.
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 rebound after treatment with Paxlovid has people questioning whether or not the course or the isolation time should be changed.
With reformulated shots from Pfizer and Moderna on the horizon, the Food and Drug Administration has decided that Americans under 50 should wait to receive second boosters.
The new versions are expected to perform better against the now-dominant Omicron subvariant BA.5, although the data available so far is still preliminary. Both Pfizer and Moderna assured the FDA recently that they could deliver millions of doses by mid-September, regulators decided it was better to wait for those shots.
Federal officials were also concerned about the public's patience with additional shots. The number of recipients has been dropping with each new dose offered. While nearly half of those eligible for the first booster opted to get it, for example, fewer than 30% of eligible Americans have chosen to receive the second booster — their fourth shot in total.
Over 77% of Americans (256 million) and 66% of Americans 65+ (45 million) are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, making the population vulnerable to severe outcomes from future surges.
Deaths from COVID-19 are still heavily concentrated among older age groups, while hospitalizations remain well-below the peak of the Omicron wave last winter.
The central problem is that the coronavirus has become more adept at re-infecting people. Already, those infected with the first Omicron variant are reporting second infections with the newer versions of the variant.
People infected with BA.5 may develop a cough, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, headaches and muscle pains. However, they are less likely to lose their senses of taste and smell, or to experience shortness of breath, as compared with those infected with Delta or other variants of the coronavirus.
What does a negative result on a home COVID-19 test really mean? Rapid home antigen tests look for pieces of viral proteins from a swab of your nose, and they are designed to identify whether you have an infectious level of the virus. But a negative test is not a guarantee you don't have COVID.