Omicron-specific booster could be ready by early fall

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 11:03 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Biden administration says it expects specific omicron boosters to be available in September, if they are approved by the FDA.

With University of Virginia students moving back onto Grounds, doctors at UVA Health are expecting to see a rise in COVID-19 cases.

”BA.5, BA.4 , subvariants of the omicron variant have come to dominate transmission in the United States and around the world,” UVA Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology Dr. Steven Zeichner said.

Pfizer and Moderna are now saying they both expect to have an omicron-specific booster available soon.

“Both of their technologies have a great advantage in that they can be easily modifiable to produce vaccines against the new variants,” Dr. Zeichner said. “Now have what are known as bivalent vaccines that include some of the original vaccine to boost for that, and a vaccine that has the protein that’s specific to the new variant to enhance immunity against that.”

The Virginia Department of Health says neither booster has received Emergency Use Authorization or been recommended by the CDC.

In a statement to NBC29, Director of the VDH Division of Immunization Christy Gray said:

“Virginia Department of Health wants to make clear that neither the Pfizer-BioNTech nor the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine/booster has received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA nor been recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The CDC has informed us that both manufacturers plan to submit data to both FDA and CDC for evaluation in the near future. Pre-ordering will occur for both products in mid-August to ensure that if EUAs are granted, shipping can start immediately. In CDC’s most accelerated timeline scenario, there is a possibility some doses could ship over the Labor Day weekend; otherwise we are planning for a September-October window.”

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