CDC approves new COVID-19 boosters to target omicron variant
TAMPA, Fla. - The CDC has approved new booster shots targeting the omicron variant of COVID-19.
"The idea here is not just to increase the antibodies right now, but also to hopefully give us a longer duration of protection," explained Dr. Peter Marks of the FDA.
Moderna's updated shots that target omicron will be available to anyone 18 or over, and Pfizer's for those 12 and over.
It is for those who have already had two doses of either, or for those who have been boosted for at least two months.
"That next level boosting will give higher levels of antibody, which should block transmission a little bit better," said USF immunologist Dr. Michael Teng. "So (it will) decrease the amount of infections out there."
The CDC has approved a booster that specifically targets the omicron variant of COVID-19.
When vaccines that targeted the first form of COVID were released, scientists knew what percentage of patients were likely safe from having severe disease.
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In this case, the vaccines have only been tested in mice.
"Much like we change your flu vaccine every year, as the influenza virus evolves, and you don't study a full efficacy trial each year with influenza vaccine, we are measuring immune responses and inferring effectiveness," said Jacqueline Miller of Moderna.
The hope with this version of the vaccine is that it'll cut down on infections as colder weather approaches.
Florida is averaging about 5,700 cases a day, after a summer peak of about 14,000 on July 7.
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The other hope is that targeting omicron will prevent further variants that again evade prevention of transmission safeguards.
FILE - Close-up photo of gloved hands holding a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.
"This may provide a little better coverage to try to knock down any variant that does come through,' said Teng.
The hope is that last January's omicron peak will be a one-time event.
Shipments of the new vaccines started going out Wednesday.
LINK: For information on where to get boosted, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/.