Sep 1, 2022 - COVID

FDA authorization paves way for Omicron boosters in Minnesota

Illustration of a person's arm with multiple bandaids on it.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Omicron boosters are coming soon to the Twin Cities.

What's happening: Yesterday, the FDA authorized updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that are tailored to target the current dominant strain.

  • Assuming a key CDC advisory committee gives a green light this week, the shots are expected to be available after Labor Day.

The big picture: Health experts say the shots could provide extra protection from serious illness heading into the fall, but it's unclear how many people will actually seek another dose.

Between the lines: The reformulated mRNA shots got regulators' blessing without human testing, as the Biden administration prioritizes speed over having all the data on how the vaccines work in real life, Axios' Tina Reed reports.

  • While experts say the boosters are safe, some warn that this approach risks dampening enthusiasm for the shot.

Zoom in: So far, interest in booster shots has been higher in Minnesota than in many parts of the country.

  • About two thirds of vaccinated Minnesotans — about 2.4 million residents — have already had a booster, state data shows. Nationally, the booster rate is less than 50%.

Yes, but: Booster adoption in the state is much higher among older cohorts. It drops to 55% for those under 49.

Who's eligible: Moderna's booster will be available for fully vaccinated people over age 18, while Pfizer's is for age 12 and older.

What to watch: State health officials told Axios they will have more details and a timeline on when to expect the shots once "CDC guidance and operational plans are confirmed."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show that Moderna's booster (not Pfizer's) will be for people over age 18, while Pfizer's (not Moderna's) will be available for age 12 and older.

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