New COVID-19 vaccine boosters are expected to hit drugstores and clinics by mid-September, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). These updates come as the U.S. prepares for the upcoming respiratory virus season this fall and winter.
While the FDA is eager to seek approval for the new vaccine, the CDC must examine its safety and effectiveness first. Once approved, the vaccine can be administered nationwide. With new variants speeding up, such as the dominant EG.5 subvariant, and the particular concern caused by FL.1.5.1 in the Northeast, doctors say the anticipated COVID booster shot can provide the proper antibodies for the Fl.1.5.1 variant.
Even those not previously vaccinated are encouraged to roll up their sleeves for the new booster, which the FDA plans to grant licensure for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for people 12 and older.
Those without insurance can still receive vaccines for free through a government bridge program. Most insurance plans cover the total cost of vaccines without co-pays under the Affordable Care Act.
The CDC has yet to announce the availability of the vaccine, but a meeting to discuss it is expected on September 12, which could mean the vaccine may be available shortly after.
COVID-19 Booster Shots
Government officials have reported that updated COVID-19 booster shots will be available to the American public in mid-September. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will approve the new vaccine dose to target circulating virus variants in the coming weeks.
The new vaccines can fight the XBB.1.5 subvariant and the newly dominant EG.5 strain. Officials hope for a higher vaccine uptake than the just over 20% of adults who received last year’s bivalent booster. The CDC expects hospitalizations to continue to climb over the next month, with 1,100 to 7,500 daily COVID-19.
U.S. government officials have revealed that COVID-19 vaccines will target the current circulating variants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will approve the new vaccines within the coming weeks. Following this decision, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent group of experts that advises the CDC’s findings, will assess the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. The CDC director will then be responsible for approving their use.
Increase in COVID-19 Cases
The vaccines will be available soon after the ACIP meeting on September 12. The new Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax vaccines will protect against the XBB.1.5 coronavirus subvariant and the newly dominant EG.5 strain. Officials hope for a higher vaccine uptake than the 20% of eligible adults who received last year’s bivalent booster. The CDC predicts that hospitalizations will continue to rise, with 1,100 to 7,500 daily COVID-19 admissions.
The announcement coincides with an increase in COVID-19 cases in the late summer. However, officials stated that the current hospitalization levels are about one-third where they were a year ago. Thanks to immunity from vaccinations and prior infections. It is important to note that antibodies against COVID-19 wane over time, and many Americans are due for a booster.
What People Need to Know About the New Booster
While health departments and federally qualified health centers should have the updated COVID-19 vaccines available immediately, there may be a slight delay in getting them for free at some drugstores. U.S. officials say they are still discussing the pharmacy program’s specifics.
According to a spokesperson, individuals who do not have insurance will only need to inform their vaccine provider to be eligible for the benefit. Dr. Cohen should wait for the new vaccines to become available in September instead of opting for the older bivalent vaccines unless the individual has never been vaccinated or infected.
She also warned that getting a bivalent vaccine might delay their ability to get the new shot within the next few weeks. Individuals must consult their doctor or nurse practitioner about their risk. The government’s free tests are still being sent to various facilities, including nursing homes, schools, and libraries, and the COVID-19 Tests website remains available for individuals to order free tests.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
SILive.com: New COVID vaccine to be released soon; here’s what you should know; by Kayla Simas
HuffPost: New COVID Booster Vaccine Will Be Available Next Month: Reports; by Lydia O’Connor
6News: Updated COVID-19 vaccines are coming mid-September, officials say; by CNN Wire