A new COVID-19 booster could be available in a matter of days. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the vaccine which now targets the dominant omicron strain, and it now heads to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With cooler months just around the corner, the timing of this is intentional. The hope is by getting these boosters out now, it’ll combat any potential surge we could see this fall and winter.
An updated COVID-19 vaccine may soon be available in the form of a bivalent booster.
Hartford Healthcare Central Region Chief of Infectious Disease Dr. Henry Anyimadu said what makes the new shot bivalent is that it has components of the original COVID strain and two omicron subvariants, which includes the current dominant strain.
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“The goal is combining this will increase protection against the omicron variant,” Anyimadu said.
Moderna’s updated single booster dose is authorized for people 18 and older. Pfizer’s version is for those 12 and older. For either shot, a person is eligible for it at least two months after they received their primary vaccination series or two months after their last booster, if applicable.
So far, the U.S. says it has purchased 171 million doses of the updated shots.
“It’s very important we get these boosters because it’s predicted the fall is going to be a horrible one for COVID. So we better be prepared,” Anyimadu said.
“In terms of trying to stave off serious outcomes and symptomatic disease, one needs to refresh the immune system with what is actually circulating,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA.
Yale Medicine Neuroimmunologist Dr. Sharon Stoll said immunity does wane over time, and there are three types of individuals who should prioritize the new shot.
“Those that are immunocompromised, over the age of 65, and last but not least, those over the age of 50 with other healthcare problems like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breathing problems,” Stoll said.
The CDC’s advisory committee is set to vote on this Thursday. The agency’s director could then sign off on it shortly after that. If that happens, we could start seeing these new boosters available after Labor Day.