SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Another COVID variant is making headlines. BA.2.12.1 is another offspring of omicron, and it’s starting to make up more and more cases.

Just a few weeks ago, BA.2.12.1 was only a concern in the New York and northeast region. Now, we’re seeing it all over the country.

But an infectious disease specialist tells KRON4 a lot of people may already be protected from this variant.

“It’s related to omicron, and it’s kind of becoming more dominant. It’s estimated to be about 30 percent of the cases in the U.S.,” UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist Doctor Peter Chin-Hong said. “It’s about 25% more transmissible than even B.A.2, which is itself anywhere from 30 to 80 percent more transmissible than B.A.1.”

Chin-Hong says he’s not too concerned for people with healthy immune systems because so many of them have built up antibodies to the original strain of omicron.

He says all these subvariants popping up one after another is actually the best case scenario.

“They’re coming one after the other very, very quickly,” Chin-Hong said. “If there was a pause of even a few months, it could mean that people’s immunity could have waned a little bit before that second new subvariant.”

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But he says everyone should be in a state of readiness for the next major variant.

Californians over the age of 50 are now able to get a 4th shot, but the public health department says only 15 percent of eligible people have done it. Dr. Chin-Hong says not everyone needs to run out and get it, but it may be beneficial to those with weaker immune system, or older.

“If you are above 65, I think it would probably be a good idea,” he said.

Dr. Chin-Hong says he is more concerned with people getting that first booster and is less concerned about a second one. He says everyone should get that first booster.