New BA.5 boosters doses of COVID-19 vaccine should be available soon to anyone 12 and older who wants one.

COVID this week BA.5 boosters on the way, CDC reports hospitalizations among vaccinated, US life expectancy plunges

An advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the BA.5 boosters Thursday after members spent more than six hours reviewing data on the state of the pandemic and the new shots. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on their recommendation shortly after. The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization Wednesday to a “bivalent” vaccine that targets both the original virus and the BA.4 and BA.5 variants that now dominate the world. As requested by the companies, the Pfizer-BioNTech booster was authorized for anyone ages 12 and up, while Moderna’s vaccine was authorized for adults only. Both were authorized for use at least two months after any previous COVID-19 shots. Although data on effectiveness remains incomplete, officials expect the more targeted booster will increase protection against severe disease and prevent milder infections for some period of time, as well as long COVID, which leads to lingering symptoms such as profound fatigue and brain fog.

The companies said they are ready to ship the modified boosters this month. Pfizer has said it has the capacity to provide up to 15 million doses by Sept. 9 from its Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, production site. Nearly half of Americans hospitalized in the spring for COVID-19 were fully vaccinated and got a third dose or booster, according to a report by the CDC. Looking at hospitalization data from March 20 to May 31, when the omicron subvariant BA.2 was the dominant strain, researchers found 39.1% of patients received a primary vaccination series and at least one booster or additional dose, while 5% were fully vaccinated plus two BA.5 boosters. The report, published last week in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found hospitalization rates among people over 65 increased threefold over the study period as rates among people under 65 increased 1.7-fold. Despite the findings, study authors said rates among unvaccinated adults were still 3.4 times higher than those who were vaccinated.

Source: This news is originally published by usatoday

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