The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shots, targeting Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that 90% of all new COVID-19 cases in the United States is from the BA.5 strain.
This is the first time the FDA has authorized an updated vaccine since the COVID-19 shots originally rolled out in December of 2020. While the vaccines have been updated to target new variants (making them bivalent vaccines), they will still protect against the original coronavirus strand.
The Pfizer-BioNTech booster for individuals 12 and older has been authorized by the FDA, along with the Moderna vaccine for those 18 and older. Individuals are advised to wait at least two months after their primary vaccination series to receive the updated booster.
Dr. Peter Marks, the head of the FDA who’s responsible for reviewing the vaccines, hopes the updated boosters will provide a similar level of protection to that of the original vaccines during their initial distribution. With the combination of the original vaccine series and the boosters, people should maintain significant protection against the virus.
As the fall season arrives and students return to school, the government has begun to prepare for a fall booster rollout. Approximately 15 million Pfizer doses are prepared to be delivered by September 9, depending on when the CDC’s outside expert panel makes a final recommendation. The U.S. government has procured 105 million doses from Pfizer and an additional 66 million from Moderna to prevent a fall surge. Once the final recommendation is made, eligible individuals are encouraged to seek out a booster to increase nationwide protection against current and prevent future variants.
The situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, but as more information is made available, Creative Benefits, Inc. will provide an update.