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As COVID-19 cases rise in Duval County, booster shots becoming critical

Anyone vaccinated before January of this year, is eligible for a booster.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As COVID-19 cases increase across Duval County, many are wondering, “do I need a booster shot, and if so, when?”

Local health experts say if you haven't already, now is the time, as surges in COVID-19 cases could change booster recommendations.

Cases of COVID-19 in Duval County increased 26% over the last two weeks. That following a jump of 60% two weeks before that. The increase means getting a COVID-19 booster is critical, according to experts with Baptist Health.

“Because the immunity that we get from the primary vaccine series, unfortunately, it wanes. And so the booster kind of reminds your immune system, hey, this is out there, and gives you that additional boost that you need when our numbers of COVID cases go up and down," said Shalika Katugaha, MD, system medical director of Infectious Diseases at Baptist Health.

It's recommended that anyone older than 5 years get a booster shot five months after their primary two-dose vaccination. Anyone vaccinated before January of this year, is eligible for a booster.

Those considered high risk, meaning you are immunocompromised or 50 and older, should receive a second booster dose after four months

Right now, Doctors say one booster is good enough for healthy people, but that could change.

"We experts predict that we might increase in terms of COVID numbers in the fall, and if we do, then that fourth vaccine might become eligible to more than just 50 and above," Katugaha said.

The best protection against serious complications and hospitalization from the virus, including variants like Omicron, is still the vaccine, according to doctors.

RELATED: President Biden celebrates COVID shots for kids under 5

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