Covid-19: FDA Approves Updated Booster Shots Targeting New Variants

Health officials are one step closer to rolling out updated COVID-19 vaccines just in time for a rise in cases heading into the fall and winter months.

COVID-19 Photo Credit: Pixabay/Daniel Roberts

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved new vaccines on Monday, Sept. 11, that are meant to better target currently circulating COVID-19 variants and provide better protection against hospitalization and death, the agency announced.

Monday’s move affects vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer. The updated mRNA vaccines are each approved for people ages 12 and older and are authorized under emergency use for children ages 6 months through 11 years.

“Vaccination remains critical to public health and continued protection against serious consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

“The public can be assured that these updated vaccines have met the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. We very much encourage those who are eligible to consider getting vaccinated.”

The new vaccines must still be approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Committee members are expected to meet Tuesday, Sept. 12, to discuss clinical recommendations on who should receive an updated vaccine, as well as further considerations for specific populations like immunocompromised and older individuals.

Moderna and Pfizer have previously announced that the updated vaccines would be ready this fall.

The FDA’s approval comes amid a steady rise in reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New York and the Mid-Hudson region since the middle of July, according to the health department.

Officials are urging residents to take precautions to avoid getting sick and to test if they experience any symptoms. 

Anyone who tests positive should stay home, avoid other people, and consider speaking with their healthcare provider about treatment to avoid serious illness.

More information on COVID-19 and available vaccines can be found on the New York State Department of Health website.

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