Sept. 6, 2023 – The updated vaccine that better protects against currently circulating strains of the virus that causes COVID-19 may be available as soon as next week.
Three sign-offs are expected in the coming days, ABC News reported. First, the FDA will formally authorize the vaccines. Second, an independent panel of CDC advisers will meet on Sept. 12 and recommend who should get the shots. After that, the CDC’s director will need to sign off. If that happens quickly, the shots may be available as soon as Sept. 13, according to the news outlet.
Vaccine maker Moderna indicated in a statement on Wednesday that the company “is ready to supply its updated COVID-19 vaccine pending regulatory approval,” also noting that new tests show the updated formula is highly effective against the currently circulating versions of SARS-CoV-2, including BA.2.86, EG.5, and FL.1.5.1.
New data published by the CDC on Tuesday evening showed that COVID hospitalizations and deaths continued their double-digit weekly upward trends. Hospitalizations rose 16%, with a total of 17,418 people newly admitted for virus complications during the week ending Aug. 26, and deaths rose nearly 18%. Despite the increase, death counts remain at historically low levels, with around 600 reported weekly.
The current hospitalization trend doesn’t follow the pattern seen last year. In summer 2022, COVID hospitalizations rose in early summer, peaked in late July, then declined and leveled off before rising again in early December.