Jun 30, 2022 - Health

FDA: Updated COVID boosters will roll out in the fall

Person administering a COVID shot

Registered Nurse Mariam Salaam administers the Pfizer booster shot in Los Angeles on May 5. Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Following a vote from an expert panel earlier this week, vaccine makers will this fall roll out updated COVID booster shots that are better suited to protect people against the most prevalent coronavirus subvariants.

Why it matters: The updated boosters will include a component from the Omicron subvariants BA. 4 and BA. 5, which have spread rapidly through the U.S., the FDA announced Thursday.

What they're saying: “As we move into the fall and winter, it is critical that we have safe and effective vaccine boosters that can provide protection against circulating and emerging variants to prevent the most severe consequences of covid-19,” the FDA said in the statement.

The big picture: On Wednesday, the Biden administration tapped its dwindling pandemic reserves to the tune of $3.2 billion for 105 million doses of the vaccine in preparation for this fall.

  • That money could go toward the updated shots for eligible residents.

By the numbers: The subvariants now make up more than 50% of the virus circulating in the U.S., according to CDC data released Tuesday.

Yes, but: It is possible that the variants could be outpaced by others by then, but the improved vaccine could still provide stronger protection for those who get it.

Go deeper ... COVID-19 Live Updates: Omicron variant, booster doses, and symptoms

Go deeper