With data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing BA.2 cases is assuming a growing percentage of declining COVID cases, the subvariant could increase in Ohio in the coming weeks and months, Vanderhoff said.
BA.2 also has a similar severity and responds to vaccines like the as BA.1 subvariant.
Despite preliminary data indicating its unlikely Ohio will see a surge caused by BA.2, vaccination and getting boosted is still key in preventing the virus from spreading.
“We still have work to do, especially when it comes to boosters,” said Clark County Combined Health District Assistant Health Commissioner Chris Cook. “Vaccines have been proven to dramatically lower the risk of infection and severe illness.”
Though many people who were infected with the omicron variant over the last few months may have some immunity, Cook said it’s not clear how long that will last.
“Infection-acquired immunity is unpredictable,” he said. “...Don’t wait for that next surge to hit. Get vaccinated for what’s next. Boosters continue to be safe and effective and frankly they can still be the deciding factor between a mild illness and being on a [ventilator].”
Vanderhoff added the state is monitoring data released about a potential low-dose vaccine for children younger than 6 from Moderna.
However, until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices releases its guidance ODH cannot take firm and definitive steps toward planning the vaccine’s distribution.