Two new COVID-19 booster shots were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday to combat the Omicron variant in the first redesign of the vaccine since its original release in December 2020, officials said.
The agency green-lit the revamped boosters — which could be available as soon as next week — to target the highly contagious BA.5 variant of Omicron and prevent a surge in the virus this winter, the FDA said in a statement.
The first booster, made by Pfizer and BioNTech, was authorized for use in people ages 12 and up and the second, by Moderna, was approved for people 18 and older.
Americans will be able to get the shots two months after receiving a vaccine or previous booster dose, officials said.
“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,” Dr. Robert M. Califf, the FDA commissioner, said in a statement. “[It will] provide better protection against currently circulating variants.”
The new jabs contain half of the original coronavirus vaccine recipe, along with new ingredients that fight Omicron, the most dominant strain of the virus in the US.
They are expected to become available shortly after Labor Day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off on them.
An average of about 475 COVID-19 deaths are recorded every day in the US, where more than a million people have died from the virus.
With Post wires
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