US may limit access to next-gen COVID-19 shots if funding falls short, official says

The next generation of COVID-19 shots may only be available this fall to those at high risk of severe illness if Congress does not approve more emergency funding to buy the shots, a senior administration official told NBC News.

The FDA is slated to meet in June to formalize a plan for the next phase of the country's vaccination efforts, which may include a fall vaccination campaign using new shots from Pfizer and Moderna that target omicron variant mutations.

However, the federal government does not have enough money to purchase new vaccines for every American before fall, according to the senior official, who wished to remain anonymous.

"We will be able to get some vaccines of the new generation, but it'll be a very limited amount and really only for the highest-risk individuals, but it will not be available for everybody," the official told NBC News.

The U.S. could experience a large COVID-19 surge this fall and winter as the virus continues to evolve and immunity wanes, modeling shows. The threat of a fall surge has heightened the urgency for the Senate to pass $10 billion in additional emergency relief funding so the U.S. can buy more COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and testing, federal officials say. 

"Without timely COVID funding, more Americans will die needlessly," President Joe Biden said in a May 9 statement. "We will lose our place in line for America to order new COVID treatments and vaccines for the fall, including next-generation vaccines under development, and be unable to maintain our supply of COVID tests."

 

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