The Food and Drug Administration has granted an emergency use authorization for the updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters made by Moderna and Pfizer. The bivalent vaccines provide protection against the original strain and the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariant. The BA.5 subvariant accounts for 90% of all COVID cases in the United States.
Pfizer's vaccine has been authorized for people age 12 and older, while Moderna's vaccine was authorized for people over the age of 18. To be eligible for the updated vaccines, you must have received the primary two-dose series of either vaccine. If you have also received a booster, you must wait two months before getting the updated vaccine.
"The public can be assured that a great deal of care has been taken by the FDA to ensure that these bivalent Covid-19 vaccines meet our rigorous safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality standards for emergency use authorization," Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet on Thursday (September 1) to discuss the vaccines. If they vote in favor of recommending the vaccines and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signs off, distribution of the vaccines could begin next week.
The U.S. has already agreed to purchase 105 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine and 66 million doses of Moderna's vaccine.