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COVID-19 Updates: New Omicron Subvariant Concerns, Bivalent Booster Availability in Bay Area

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As the weather changes and COVID cases are once again rising in Europe, a new COVID variant has been found in the Bay Area.

The new subvariant, BA2.75.2, comes at the same time the state pushes to get people to line up and get a shot of the so-called bivalent booster.

Only one case has been confirmed in the Bay Area, scientists said. So why would this variant cause so much concern?

“It’s known as one of the most immune evasive variants so far,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist.

He also said the subvariant’s spike proteins looks different. This means that antibodies from getting a vaccine or from having had COVID may not recognize it, thus creating a higher chance of causing infections and spreading.

Barbara Pagonico, from San Jose, said she’s relieved she already got the new booster shot.

“I want to be protected from the virus,” she said. “I got my booster three weeks ago.”

The booster is designed to offer protection against both original COVID and the Omicron variant. However, it appears few people are lining up for the vaccine.

In Santa Clara County 92,464 people – less than 5% of county residents – have received their booster.

“I think there are several reasons why people are not getting the current booster,” Dr. Chin-Hong said. “First of all, there is a low right now so perhaps people are trying to time the booster when there’s action in the community and they can get the biggest bang for their buck,” he explained. “If you go too soon, the antibodies peak sooner and you lose them by the time there’s a search.”

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