FDA authorizes updated COVID boosters to target newest variants


The Food and Drug Administration today granted emergency use authorization to Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

The agency cited data to support the safety and efficacy of this next generation of mRNA vaccines targeted toward variants of concern.

The Pfizer EUA corresponds to the company’s combination booster shot that includes the original COVID-19 vaccine as well as a vaccine specifically designed to protect against the most recent Omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5.

The Moderna combination vaccine will contain both the firm’s original COVID-19 vaccine and a vaccine to protect specifically against Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

As of Aug. 27, BA.4 and BA.4.6 account for about 11% of circulating variants and BA.5 accounts for almost all the remaining 89%, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show.

The next step will be review of the scientific data by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is set to meet Sept. 1 and 2. The final hurdle before distribution of the new vaccines will be sign-off on CDC recommendations for use by agency Director Rochelle Walensky, MD.

This is a developing story. A version of this article first appeared on WebMD.com.

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