CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – With the omicron variant of the COVID virus concerning public health experts, there are questions about how a booster shot may help prevent infection.

Data from clinical trials showed that a booster shot increased the immune response against COVID-19. The CDC says with an increased immune response, people should have improved protection against COVID-19, including the delta variant.

For Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, clinical trials also showed that a booster shot helped prevent COVID-19 with symptoms. The CDC says although COVID-19 vaccination with the first doses remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data suggests protection from the vaccine becomes less effective over time, especially in people aged 65 and older and at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms, so that’s why a booster dose is necessary.

“The immediate risk right now is delta, the cases are still rising, and so getting vaccinated really protects you immediately in terms of the delta variant.” Dr. Armando Paez, Chief of Infectious Disease at Baystate Health

Everyone 18 years and older is eligible for the COVID booster shot, locations can be found at vaxfinder.mass.gov.

The CDC says the omicron variant emphasizes why people should get the booster dose because the variant seems more transmissible and has the potential for immune evasion, so increasing your antibodies now may help protect yourself against the variant.