When to get the COVID shot as case numbers rise in Europe and the US

  • A new wave of COVID seems to be rising in Europe.
  • Throughout the pandemic, US COVID trends have mirrored what Europe is doing.
  • The Americans have updated the booster shots available now, targeting Omicron variants in circulation.

It’s time for a COVID vaccine booster, experts say.

There are early warning signals in the United States and Europe that we are entering a winter wave of COVID-19 infections, epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina wrote in her Sub-stack newsletter Wednesday.

Jet shared a graph showing a slight increase in COVID hospital admissions across Western Europe, adding: “Here we go again.”

These European trends are concerning to virus watchers in the United States, who know that generally, during the pandemic, anything that happens in Europe will be reflected in the states.

chart showing US mirrors Europe in COVID cases


“We may have a bumpy ride this winter,” Jetelina said. “There are many things you can do, but the easiest is to get your fall reminder.”

Confirmed cases started to rise across Europe as temperatures dropped

The rise in cases in Europe is likely due to a mix of colder weather forcing people indoors, more mixing as school starts and celebrations like Oktoberfest bring people together for the first time in two years.

As Jetelina points out, the dominant variant is still Omicron – which is good news, given our new custom made vaccines.

covid cases increase in europe

Our world in data

The real red flag: an increase in hospitalizations

graph showing hospital admissions in europe on the rise

Our world in data

In Germany Hospital admission for COVIDs are increasing rapidlyand about half (14/27) of European countries reporting the number of hospitalizations and intensive care in European Center for Disease Prevention and Control are experiencing similar surges.

“Overall, the epidemiological picture suggests an increase in transmission,” the ECDC said on September 30.

The same is what’s happening in the uk.

Case rates are still stable in the US – but toilet water data suggests that will soon change

Although official case rate and hospitalizations aren’t working much in the US yet, toilets in Boston are already suggesting a rise in COVID is upon us.

Sewage can turn positive for COVID before testing, and gives an approximate gauge the number of people who are COVID-positive flush the virus down the toilet — whether they know it or not.

boston sewage covid increase

More COVID-19 in sewage means more people are COVID-positive, whether they know it or not.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

This is the first time our COVID shots have matched so closely to the virus around us.

The coronavirus variants currently circulating are all versions of Omicron, with BA.4 and BA.5 dominating. New COVID reminders are available that specifically target these variants – the first time we’ve had COVID shots so closely tied to the circulating virus.

Booster injections are free in the United Statesand you can get one anytime, as long as it’s been at least two months since your last COVID vaccination and you don’t have an active COVID infection right now.

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