Higashi recommends Omicron Covid booster shot for students


BP Photo by Evan Beller

PREVENT: Above, a technician prepared an original Covid shot for then-sophomore Evan Beller in 2021.

By Benjamin Gamson, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Julie Higashi, infectious disease expert and Los Angeles County Tuberculosis Controller, encourages teens to get the new bivalent booster that targets two Omicron variants as well as the original virus that started the Covid pandemic. 

“We are still having over 400 deaths per day due to COVID-19 and that’s about four times what we would normally tolerate with influenza,” wrote Dr. Higashi in an email response to Boiling Point questions Sept 20. “So there is still quite a bit of disease activity causing hospitalization and death.

The best way to bring those numbers down and protect everyone is to get the bivalent booster if you have not had another COVID-19 vaccine within two months,” she wrote, “or been infected with COVID-19 in the last two months. The bivalent booster will protect against infection, severe disease, hospitalization, death and also long COVID-19.” 

The Centers for Disease Control approved the new updated vaccines Sept. 1 to fight against Covid-19’s BA.4 and BA.5 variants. 

​​“The updated COVID-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variant,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky wrote Sept. 1 in a statement.

The bivalent booster will protect against infection, severe disease, hospitalization, death and also long COVID-19.

— Dr. Julie Higashi, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

“They can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants,” the statement continues.

The new shots are recommended to those 12 and older for Pfizer-BioNTech and for people 18 and up for Moderna’s updated shot. 

On Nov. 29, 2,370 new Covid cases were reported in LA County according to the County of Los Angeles Public Health. An additional 12 deaths were reported and 516 people were reported hospitalized.

Nationwide, there were 1,780 deaths in the past week on Dec. 1, according to the CDC.

Chief Operating Officer Ms. Sarah Emerson said that students should consult with their doctors about when to receive Covid boosters. 

“Shalhevet recommends that families consult with their personal physicians regarding which boosters they should be getting and on what schedule,” said Ms. Emerson Oct. 6 in an email to the Boiling Point.