Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Monday asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize Covid booster shots that target the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants for people ages 12 and older.
The U.S. is preparing for a fall vaccination campaign using updated vaccines that target the dominant omicron subvariants. Public health officials expect another wave of infection this fall as as immunity from the currently authorized shots wanes off and people head indoors to escape the colder weather.
The updated vaccines would target the original strain of the virus that first emerged in Wuhan, China in 2019 as well as omicron. Scientists and public health officials hope the new shots will provide broader and more durable protection against infection and mild illness.
The currently authorized shots were developed to target the version of Covid that first emerged in China. Though the original vaccines are still preventing severe disease, they are not providing substantial protection against infection and mild illness.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Covid response coordinator, has said the new shots will become available to the public by early to mid-September.
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