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The XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant sparks concern about long term effects of infection

person receives COVID vaccine shot
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A new omicron subvariant is causing concern about the possible long term effects of multiple infections with the virus that causes COVID.

The XBB.1.5 subvariant is most common in the Northeastern United States, but experts say it's likely to spread because of recent holiday travel. Studies suggest that the subvariant is more transmissible than past variants.

Mehul Suthar is a professor of pediatrics at the Emory School of Medicine Vaccine Center. He said getting reinfected could increase the risk of health problems.

“Long COVID is a significant problem. Simply getting infected is not necessarily a viable strategy," he warned.

Suthar encouraged people to stay vigilant about keeping their vaccines up to date because of these new subvariants.

“Even over this past year, we've probably experienced multiple rounds of omicron surges and trying to keep up with the pace is incredibly difficult. This virus continuously changes,” Suthar said.

The CDC currently recommends getting a booster at least two months after your most recent vaccine. The agency says you can choose to wait at least three months after testing positive for COVID before getting a booster.

Taylor Bowie is a senior studying English Literature at the University of Michigan and an intern in the Michigan Radio newsroom. She is originally from Owosso, Michigan.
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