Posted on August 01, 2022 in: Professional Practice
The Biden administration's fall push for coronavirus boosters will get underway in September, weeks earlier than initially planned, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced on July 29. The strategy is being built around the introduction of reformulated doses, which Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have vowed to have ready for distribution by then.
Scientists hope the bivalent doses, which contain components from the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of the Omicron strain as well as some components from the original version of the virus, will offer greater protection from a possible fall and winter surge as the virus continues to evolve. Decisions on the fall vaccine strategy, including who should be boosted and when, fell to FDA; however, there was plenty of internal and external debate. The conversation raised concerns about the need for coverage now in younger Americans as immunity is waning, the potential for public confusion, and the possibility that the efficacy of the new doses might be compromised if administered too soon after an original booster.
Ultimately, FDA decided that individuals younger than age 50 years should only get a single booster for now, while older individuals and those who are immunocompromised should get two boosters. All should act as soon as they are eligible, with the assurance that they will still be able to receive the reformulated doses later.