MADISON (WKOW) — Health officials are setting the stage for a nationwide campaign to get the word out about new Omicron specific booster shots this fall.

The boosters are expected to be released in September and they will be available for everyone 12 and up.

They target both the original strain of COVID-19, as well as the BA-4 and BA-5 Omicron subvariants.

27 News spoke to Dr. Jeff Pothof, Chief Quality Officer at UW Health, about what the public can expect from this major development.

Pothof said he’s hopeful the new boosters will deliver everyone better protection from highly contagious COVID-19 subvariants that have evaded vaccines.

“It’s not as good as what it was. We used to have this great protection against any symptoms at all, Pothof said. “But, I think if we do get a vaccine that then gets us back to kind of that, you know, have your cake and eat it too… That may be enough benefit where we see some of that vaccine enthusiasm that we saw initially.”

Enthusiasm for booster shots has not been great—especially for the second one. According to the CDC, only 30.9% of Americans over 50 have received the second dose. Additionally, only 37.8% of Americans over 65 have received the second dose.

Pothof said boosters are safe, effective and can save lives.

“Some people will say: ‘Well, I got vaccinated, I got boosted, but I still had COVID. So like, why should I get vaccinated?’ The answer is because it didn’t kill you and you didn’t end up in the hospital,” Pothof said.

With the announcement of the new Omicron specific vaccines, some people may be wondering whether they should get boosted now, or wait for the new booster. Pothof recommends getting boosted now, because you can always get the new booster come fall.

“Boosters right now are approved based on their ability to prevent severe disease. So, if you are missing a booster, you’re not getting as much protection against severe disease as you could have,” Pothof said. “If you got boosted today you’d still be able to get boosted come you know September, October, November.”

The Biden Administration has ordered millions of the Omicron specific booster shots.

They are pending authorization by the FDA and a recommendation by the CDC.