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FDA authorizes updated COVID-19 vaccine; CDC to weigh in today

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FDA authorizes updated COVID-19 vaccine; CDC to weigh in today

LPN Nicole Banks draws up a dose of COVID-19 vaccine during a “Be a Superhero, Get Vaxxed” themed vaccination event at Indian Creek Elementary School in Clarkston on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Atlanta, GA — The United States Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of updated Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines on Sept. 11. The updated vaccine aims to more closely target variants that are currently circulating and to provide better protection against serious COVID-19 consequences, like hospitalization and death, according to a press release.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet today, Sept. 12, to vote on clinical recommendations on who should receive an updated vaccine, as well as further considerations for specific populations such as immunocompromised and older individuals.

If the CDC director signs off on the recommendations, the vaccines will be available at public health departments, pharmacies and clinics across the country within days, according to CNN.

The updated mRNA vaccines are each approved for individuals 12 years of age and older and are authorized under emergency use for individuals six months through 11 years of age. As part of the update, the bivalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized to be used in the U.S.

The FDA recommended that individuals five years and older, regardless of previous vaccination, are eligible to receive a single dose of the updated vaccine at least two months after the last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine.

Individuals six months to four years old who have previously been vaccinated against COVID-19 are also eligible to receive one or two doses of an updated COVID-19 vaccine The timing and number of doses to administer depends on the previous COVID-19 vaccine received. Anyone ages six months to four years who is unvaccinated can receive three doses of the updated Pfizer vaccine or two doses of the updated Moderna vaccine, according to the press release.

For those who receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine, they may experience similar side effects seen with the previous vaccines. The manufacturers have announced the updated vaccines will be ready this fall, and the FDA anticipates that they will be available soon.

The FDA anticipates that the COVID-19 vaccines may need to be updated annually, as is done for the seasonal influenza vaccine.

“Vaccination remains critical to public health and continued protection against serious consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “The public can be assured that these updated vaccines have met the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. We very much encourage those who are eligible to consider getting vaccinated.”

CNN reported that the vaccines have been updated to teach the body to fight the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and other closely related strains.

“Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated as soon as the shots are available. They’re debuting amid a late summer rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States and growing concerns about the effects that the triple threat of respiratory viruses – coronavirus, flu and respiratory syncytial virus – may have this fall and winter season,” CNN reported.

As of Sept. 6, about 2.4 million total cases had been reported in Georgia. About 4,000 cases has been confirmed between the Sept. 6 report and the previous update, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

For the week of Aug. 27 to Sept. 2, there was in an increase of 8.7% in hospitalizations. Hospitalizations remain low in DeKalb County. There were 173 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported between Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 in DeKalb County, according to the CDC.

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