You Can Now Get Your Updated COVID Vaccine

Shots beginning this week, as soon as Wednesday in some locations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 11, 2023 3:40 PM CDT
Updated Sep 13, 2023 12:41 AM CDT
Latest COVID Vaccinations Could Begin This Week
This photo provided by Pfizer shows single-dose vials of the company's updated COVID vaccine for adults.   (Pfizer via AP)
UPDATE Sep 13, 2023 12:41 AM CDT

Most Americans should get an updated COVID-19 vaccine, health officials said Tuesday. Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the new shots for everyone 6 months and older and the agency's director quickly signed off Tuesday on the panel's recommendation. That means doses should be available this week, some as early as Wednesday. The AP has an explainer here.

Sep 11, 2023 3:40 PM CDT

The federal government approved updated COVID-19 vaccines Monday, 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, the AP reports. 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 this week, and both the COVID-19 and flu shot 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.

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Like earlier vaccinations, the fall round is cleared for adults and children as young as 6 months. The FDA said starting at age 5, most people can get a single dose even if they've never had a 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 the FDA determined it would offer good cross-protection. These newest shots replace combination vaccines that mixed protection against the original coronavirus strain and even older omicron variants. Like earlier versions, they're expected to be most protective against severe illness, hospitalization and death, rather than mild infection.

(More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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