When will we see the new COVID-19 booster shot?

A new booster shot is closer to final approval
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 5:57 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The FDA approved a new COVID-19 booster shot targeting a more recent variant of the virus. It could be in the hands of doctors -- and the arms of people -- as soon as this week once it clears the final steps in the process.

A panel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet Tuesday to give recommendations on who is eligible for the new booster. After that, the CDC director has to sign off on them.

Booster shots will then be delivered to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies across the country.

We spoke to an infectious disease specialist at Bellin Health, Dr. Michael Landrum, who says if you haven’t been previously vaccinated, you would start with this updated vaccine. If you’ve been vaccinated, then you would receive this as your booster shot.

Current strains that are circulating and this new vaccine strain are subvariants of omicron which emerged in 2021.

“They are somewhat related. The strain the vaccine is based off is different than the strains that are currently circulating but it’s still similar enough that they are predicting it will provide protection against the circulating strains -- not perfect but good protection,” Dr. Landrum said.

With people less likely to mask up or social distance now, doctors say the vaccine is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and avoid getting a severe infection or infecting a vulnerable person.

“It’s been shown to be the most effective. The other measures you can do -- social distancing, masking -- I just think that the likelihood of someone truly following those recommendations is lower now than it has been in the last 3 or 4 years,” Landrum said.

The FDA says children ages 5 and older should be eligible to receive an updated booster dose regardless of previous vaccination, as long as it’s been at least two months since their last COVID dose.

The updated boosters are approved for anyone 12 and older and authorized for emergency use for children between 6 months and 11 years old.

The CDC will decide who should be eligible for the shot, and it could reach doctors and pharmacists this week.