Officials push for omicron-targeted vaccines by September

Refreshed vaccines aimed at omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which account for nearly all COVID-19 infections, could be available to the public in about six weeks, according to NPR

At the end of June, the FDA advised vaccine-makers to focus on BA.4 and BA.5, which accounted for 52.3 percent of national cases at the time. Manufacturers have sped to tweak their original vaccine ingredients, test for efficacy, gain regulatory approval and have the new vaccines ready by the fall. 

The FDA originally expected the modified vaccines to be available in October, but federal health officials are leaning toward shortening the timeline and sweeping second boosters, which previously were considered to be recommended for all adults under 50, to the back burner. Health experts have warned not to wait for the omicron-specific vaccines. 

Moderna's updated candidate was found to be nearly twice as effective against omicron compared to its original vaccine in a phase 3 trial, and Pfizer is testing a next-generation vaccine with spike proteins from both the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and an omicron variant as it also races to assess its updated vaccine, according to a July 27 press release


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