- Photo via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -
Published on Tuesday, September 12, 2023
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
The U.S. approved updated Covid-19 vaccines, hoping to rev up protection against the latest coronavirus strains and blunt any surge this fall and winter.
The Food and Drug Administration decision opens the newest shots from Moderna and Pfizer and its partner BioNTech to most Americans even if they've never had a coronavirus vaccination. It's part of a shift to treat fall updates of the Covid-19 vaccine much like getting a yearly flu shot.
There's still another step: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must sign off. A CDC advisory panel is set to issue recommendations Tuesday on who most needs the updated shots. Vaccinations could begin later this week, and both the Covid-19 and flu shots can be given at the same visit.
Covid-19 hospitalizations have been rising since late summer although – thanks to some lasting immunity from prior vaccinations and infections – not nearly as much as this time last year.
But protection wanes over time and the coronavirus continually churns out new variants that can dodge prior immunity. It's been a year since the last time the vaccines were tweaked.
Just like earlier vaccinations, the fall round is cleared for adults and children as young as age 6 months. FDA said starting at age 5, most people can get a single dose even if they've never had a prior Covid-19 shot.
Younger children might need additional doses depending on their history of Covid-19 infections and vaccinations.
The newest shots
target an omicron variant named XBB.1.5.
That specific strain is no longer dominant
but it's close enough to coronavirus strains
causing most Covid-19 illnesses today that
FDA determined it would offer good
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