New COVID Booster Approved By FDA
We all know the flu and probably everyone has had the flu more than a few times. Flu shots are available every year which are essentially booster shots against the latest strain of the flu. Variants pop up every year and the flu vaccine gets updated to meet the challenges of the new flu variant.
It appears this is the same course we are heading toward with COVID-19 disease. The FDA has just approved a new booster to address the latest variants of SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The new bivalent booster specifically adds vaccination for the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine received emergency use authorization from the FDA which is the same authorization the original vaccines received. Why they received “emergency” authorization at this time is unclear from the CDCs and FDAs website. But, they should be better if they address the new variants without unwanted side effects.
So far, with only a very small test group, the main side effects are pretty much the same as with the primary vaccinations. Test participants who received the Moderna bivalent BA.1 vaccine experienced soreness, pain, redness and swelling at the injection site; fatigue; headache; muscle pain; joint pain; chills; nausea/vomiting and mild fever.
In most places the monovalent boosters have already been discontinued and are being replaced by the bivalent boosters.
Eligibility depends on age and whether you have recently had the primary vaccinations. As of now Moderna’s bivalent booster is available for anyone 18 years or older, and Pfizer is approved for those 12 and over. It is interesting that there is no requirement to prove you have had the primary vaccinations, or boosters, in order to get the new bivalent booster shot. According to several sites, and the CDC, providers have to administer the new booster if you “self-attest” to eligibility. Maybe this is an avenue to get people boosted even if they never got the primary vaccinations.
These days pretty much everywhere is required to let you self-attest to eligibility which will undoubtedly increase the number of people getting boosted. So far, only about half the eligible population in the US is fully vaccinated with primary doses and boosters, so removing any barriers to getting the booster shot should increase that number.
As we have been saying, the COVID vaccine and the flu vaccine are most likely going to be annual shots for those people that want them. I wasn’t getting my flu shot and got the flu every year. Twenty years ago I began getting flu shots every year and haven’t had a bad case of the flu since. That’s what I would expect from the COVID vaccine as well.
Only about 50% of the population gets a flu shot every year, which leaves a lot of people more vulnerable to severe case of the flu. It will be interesting to see how many people get the COVID booster shot every year. And, it will be interesting to see how hard the government pushes to force people to get the new booster. Time will tell.