HealthDay News — A vaccine advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted on Thursday to recommend updated boosters from Pfizer and Moderna that target omicron variants, paving the way for the shots to get into American arms within days.
All that is needed now is for CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., to sign off on the recommendations, which she is expected to do. Final approval would come before the possible emergence of a winter surge in COVID-19 cases. According to the CDC, hundreds of thousands of updated vaccine doses were already being delivered around the country on Thursday, The New York Times reported. Providers nationwide are expected to have millions of updated booster shots by Labor Day, the agency said, though some doctors have said they were told that initial supply would be small in their areas.
The CDC panel vote comes one day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its blessing for the updated booster shots.
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D., urged Americans to get the new boosters. “As we head into fall and begin to spend more time indoors, we strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to consider receiving a booster dose with a bivalent [targets both the original virus and the omicron variants] COVID-19 vaccine to provide better protection against currently circulating variants,” he said in an agency news release announcing the emergency approval.
The updated Moderna booster was authorized for those aged 18 years and older, while the Pfizer booster was approved for those aged 12 years and older, the FDA said. The booster should be given at least two months after primary vaccination or the original boosters.