MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — Get up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccines and boosters — that’s the message from Alabama health officials as a new “subvariant of concern” emerges in the United States.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), the latest bivalent boosters provide protection against the emerging Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, which has taken over all other Omicron subvariants from the fall.

“The new strain accounts for about 40 percent of cases in the U.S. and is now the main subvariant in the Northeastern states where it accounts for an estimated 75 percent of cases,” ADPH said in a statement Thursday.

ADPH says COVID-19 vaccinations are important for everyone, but especially crucial for those ages 65 and older.

Health officials say the new subvariant “is not known to be more severe than other variants” but vaccinations can help stop serious illness from developing or hospitalization.

To see a list of vaccination sites across Alabama, click here.