New COVID vaccines to be released in mid-September, officials confirm.

New COVID vaccines to be released in mid-September, officials confirm.

New COVID-19 Booster Shots Expected in Mid-September to Target Variants

Covid-19 Booster Shots


New booster shots for COVID-19, designed to specifically target the variants currently circulating, are expected to be available by mid-September. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is anticipated to grant approval in the coming weeks, followed by a safety review and recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The aim is to provide an opportunity for individuals to enhance their waning antibodies against the virus. However, only about 17% of eligible individuals received the previous bivalent COVID shots. The new booster shots will offer some protection against closely related strains as well. Americans will have the option to choose between two mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, as well as a protein subunit vaccine from Novavax.

Boosting Immunity with New Vaccines

The Novavax vaccine includes an ingredient that boosts the immune system to produce antibodies. The FDA plans to approve the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for individuals aged 12 and above. Additionally, under emergency use authorization, it is expected to allow the Novavax vaccine for people aged 11 and younger. These new vaccines will target the XBB.1.5 coronavirus subvariant and provide some protection against related strains, including EG.5.

Accessibility and Affordability of Booster Shots

Although the booster shots will not be available free of charge under government coverage, most insurance plans are required to cover the full cost without any copays, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Individuals without insurance can utilize a government bridge program to receive the vaccines at no cost. The CDC Director, Dr. Mandy Cohen, mentioned that this bridge program will be accessible through federally qualified health centers, public health departments, and participating pharmacy partners like CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart.

While there may be a slight delay in obtaining the free vaccines at stores, health departments are expected to have them readily available. Moreover, the National Stockpile continues to maintain a supply of COVID tests and distribute them as needed.

Current Situation and the Need for Boosters

The announcement of booster shots comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are on the rise. This can be observed through increased emergency room visits, hospitalizations, testing of travelers at airports, and wastewater monitoring. The number of hospitalized Americans with the virus has risen by 22% in recent weeks, with over 12,000 individuals currently hospitalized. However, immunity from previous vaccines and infections has managed to keep the number of COVID cases to about one-third of what they were during the same period last year.

Sources: – CNN, Aug. 25, 2023