Do I need a 4th dose of the COVID vaccine? Are variants before omicron still spreading?

Dr. Frank McGeorge answers COVID questions

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Dr. Frank McGeorge has been keeping viewers up-to-date and informed on all fronts. He’s been answering your questions abou

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Dr. Frank McGeorge has been keeping viewers up-to-date and informed on all fronts. He’s been answering your questions about the vaccine, the vaccination process and more.

Read: More answers to questions about coronavirus

My family and I have gotten our booster shots about six months ago. With the omicron vaccine supposedly coming out in March, would you recommend getting the fourth shot now or wait for the omicron vaccine?

If you are currently fully vaccinated and boosted there is no reason for an additional shot at this time. I would wait for future CDC recommendations, especially with the potential for variant specific vaccines in the future.

Now that the cases are going down from the omicron variant, should we still stick to the KN95 masks or can we go back to the daily disposable masks?

If you are going to mask, using the best mask available to you is always the best option. But comfort is also an important factor and you’re right to suggest that we should adjust our behaviors to the current risk levels.

In my opinion, cases have fallen quickly enough that going back to an ordinary mask is reasonable. Assuming you’re not in a crowd indoors or at high risk from COVID.

Is the original COVID strain still infecting people? Are the variants before omicron still infecting people?

According to the CDC’s gene sequencing, at present in the United States, essentially 99.9% of COVID infections are being caused by omicron. The original SARS-CoV-2 virus is no longer in circulation.

Right now the competition is between omicron subtypes BA.1 and BA.2. In the past week, BA.2 has increased from 1.2% of omicron samples to 3.6% and its proportion may continue to increase since it is considered more transmissible.

Read: Are there over-the-counter drugs that help fight COVID?

Last month, a viewer asked the following question: Are there over the counter drugs that will help defeat this virus?

Here is my answer: Unfortunately, the answer is no. Over the counter medications can be used to control some of the symptoms like a cough or fever, but they won’t stop the virus. Depending on your risk factors, you may be eligible for medications that can stop the virus like monoclonal antibodies or the pills PAXLOVID and Molnupiravir. Your doctor can tell you if you qualify.

Dave reached out with a statement regarding that answer: “To flat out say there are no OTC options for people to try and boost their immune systems is pure EVIL!!”

While I think “evil” is pretty extreme, let me be clear, there are no over the counter medications proven to treat or prevent COVID beyond symptom control. As to whether staying healthy, eating right, sleeping well and anything else you can do to enhance your health is beneficial. I’d agree, of course.

As for the over the counter vitamin or mineral supplements like zinc and vitamin D, I would leave that up to the individual since they aren’t harmful. The only good science at present is that if your vitamin D levels are deficient, supplementing them to normal appears to have a protective effect.

Read: Complete Michigan COVID coverage

Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge

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About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.