Health Expert: COVID-19 vaccine's reliability begins to wane after 6 months

On Tuesday, the FDA gave the second COVID-19 vaccine booster the green light for Americans 50 and over. With the approval in mind, how soon should eligible Americans schedule their fourth jab?

FOX 11 spoke with a health expert to hear their thoughts on the thought of getting a second booster shot.

RELATED: FDA approves 2nd COVID-19 vaccine booster for those 50 and older

Dr. Ilan Shapiro, the Chief Health Correspondent and Medical Affairs Officer for AltaMed Health Services, said the vaccine's reliability begins to wane after six months. 

"At that moment, we have a couple of issues. We start having less protection and more importantly, more hospitalizations and more complications," said Shapiro. 

Dr. Shapiro said he understands people have COVID fatigue but urges the importance of remaining vigilant. 

"It's perfectly fine right now to have that feeling of we have enough and we want a perfect life and just forget about COVID but the reality is COVID-19 doesn't stop, doesn't sleep and doesn't go on vacation. That's why we need to continue stepping up our guard and using the tools that we have. I'm very happy that this is not 2020, or 2021. We're in 2022 where we have enough information on how to avoid infections, diminish complications and most importantly save lives," said Shapiro. 

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Shapiro warned that BA.2, the subvariant of omicron, is more contagious. It is believed to be 30% more contagious.

"At this moment, BA.2 has been spreading around the world very, very fast, and it's outpacing the original variant of omicron. The good news is that it doesn't seem to be more aggressive or creating more complications, but at the same rate, omicron was very aggressive anyway and still we cannot lower our guard," he said.

He said the U.S. tends to follow trends from Europe, where BA.2 is causing a surge. 

"The U.S. actually follows what's happening in Europe four to six weeks after, and right now we are about three weeks, three to five weeks in to see if those cases start to rise up," he said. 

However, he said it will be "different" this time around if cases do increase. 

"We have a lot of people that are already vaccinated, and we actually have medications, and we understand how to use things like masks and safe distance," he said.

Currently, U.S. officials urge two primary shots and then – followed months later – a booster shot for everyone age 12 and older. 

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