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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Fiona Rutherford

FDA clears way for boosters targeted at latest COVID variants

COVID-19 boosters from Moderna Inc. and the partnership of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE that are tailored to the latest COVID-19 omicron variants got U.S. regulatory clearance, a move toward additional protection as concern grows about potential new waves in the fall and winter.

The emergency use authorization is for use of a dose of Moderna’s shot in people 18 and older, while Pfizer’s can be used in people 12 and older, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday in a statement. The booster must be given at least two months after recipients’ latest COVID shot. Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet Thursday and Friday, when they’re expected to discuss the shots, and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky must give a recommendation before they’re administered nationwide.

Current vaccines are designed to prevent the Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, but new mutants differ increasingly from the original strain in ways that allow them to evade immunity afforded by shots and previous infections. The Biden administration has made plans to begin offering the new boosters as soon as the Labor Day weekend, aiming to stave off a fall surge in cases of the disease, Bloomberg reported last week.

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