FDA approves new COVID-19 booster shots

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a new round of COVID-19 booster shots aimed at better targeting variants that are circulating around the U.S.

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The vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have been updated to target the Omicron variant XBB.1.5, according to the FDA. The variant was dominant when vaccine makers began to formulate the new shots, The New York Times reported.

On Tuesday, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel is set to meet to discuss who should get the updated vaccines and other recommendations. The shots could be available as soon as by the end of the week, according to The Washington Post.

Health officials urged people who are eligible for the shots to consider getting vaccinated.

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

He added, “The public can be assured that these updated vaccines have met the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality.”

The reformulated vaccines will be available ahead of colder weather, when the virus typically causes more infections. Recent numbers indicate a bump in coronavirus transmission nationwide, though hospital admissions were still far below than the numbers reported around this time last year, the Post reported.

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