The Biden administration will roll out an updated Covid booster shot starting this fall that will better protect against newer variants of the virus.
Pfizer and Moderna told the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that they expect to deliver millions of doses of a new reformulated vaccine by mid-September, the reported.
As a result, the Biden administration decided against expanding second-booster eligibility for adults under the age of 50 — at least not until the reformulated shots are released.
The federal government has, however, already begun purchasing millions of doses of the new, reconfigured inoculation.
The soon-to-come shots are expected to better protect against the Omicron subvariant BA.5, which is now the dominant strain and most transmissible strain of the virus to date.
Pfizer and Moderna reconfigured their shots in part as a response to recommendations by health officials, who stressed the urgency for greater protection against BA.4 and BA.5.
While the current booster is still effective at preventing serious symptoms and death, the newer shot would hopefully provide greater protection against BA.5. It also would come just ahead of a potential winter surge of the virus. All of the data on the new shot is preliminary.
Once the new vaccines are authorized by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), doses will begin to be distributed across the country by mid-September, Health and Human Services said in a release.
According to the statement, the new vaccines will only be made possible by additional funding from Congress.
‘We must stay vigilant in our fight against COVID-19 and continue to expand Americans’ access to the best vaccines and treatments,’ Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said.
‘As we look to the fall and winter, we’re doing just that—ensuring Americans have the tools they need to stay safe and help keep our nation moving forward,’ he added.
Hospitalizations have been rising across the US amid a spike in several subvariants of the virus. Currently, a second booster shot is only available to Americans over the age of 50 or those who are 12 and are immunocompromised.
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