US approves ‘updated’ Covid-19 vaccines

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of new Covid-19 vaccine boosters made by Pfizer and Moderna to tackle the virus’s most recent versions as hospitalizations rise.

The most recent vaccines target XBB.1.5, the dominant Covid-19 strain earlier this summer, and will be made available to the public as early as this week. The FDA stated on Monday that they were approved for persons aged 12 and up, with an emergency use authorisation granted for youngsters as young as six months old.

“The public can be assured that these updated vaccines have met the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality,” the FDA stated in a statement. “Those who are eligible should strongly consider getting vaccinated.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to decide on usage guidelines for the revised inoculations as soon as Tuesday. The agency’s advisory panel may recommend that the shots be given to people at high risk of severe complications from Covid-19 – such as the elderly and those with weak immune systems – rather than the public at large.

Despite the fact that XBB.1.5 is no longer the most common Covid-19 strain in the United States, Pfizer and Moderna say that their updated boosters are as effective against the more recent EG.5 and FL.1.5.1 strains. The vaccine developers announced last week that the new immunizations produced robust antibody responses to BA.2.86, an Omicron-related strain that has prompted concern due to its numerous alterations.

Although US President Joe Biden’s administration has warned of growing infections, many Americans are either unconvinced of the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccinations or have just stopped worrying about the virus. Only 17% of those who were eligible for the previous Covid-19 booster received one.