After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave a green light to Pfizer and Moderna to issue updated COVID-19 vaccines last week, officials have been encouraging many Americans to get an updated booster.
The new boosters are intended for those who are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The boosters provide antibodies not only against previous strains of the virus but also against the omicron variant, which has accounted for most cases.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden was scheduled to hold an event touting the new vaccines. The event was postponed in light of Queen Elizabeth II's death.
His COVID-19 response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, has already been pushing for Americans to get the new booster. For some, this could be their fifth COVID-19 shot in the last two years.
“It matches the strain that's out there,” Jha told CNN. “We have not done that before. Certainly haven't done that in the last two years and it should provide a higher degree of protection against infection and transmission, against serious illness.”
The updated vaccines were in response to a virus that has mutated over the last two years. Although the original shot was quite effective, the vaccine has struggled to stop the spread of mild and moderate cases of the virus.
“In less than three months, we were able to develop and manufacture an Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted vaccine. This milestone further underlines the strength of rapidly adaptable mRNA vaccines against this continuously evolving virus,” said Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech.
The new version of the COVID-19 vaccine is already available at many pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens.
The White House previously announced it purchased 66 million doses of Moderna’s updated vaccine and 105 million doses of Pfizer’s updated vaccine.