Americans are being told to roll up their sleeves for a new Covid booster shot this autumn.
A spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday revealed plans to offer the shots by mid-September.
The vaccines, made by Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax, are targeted against the XBB variants, but officials say they will also provide ‘robust’ protection against ‘Eris’.
It is also thought they will bolster protection against BA.2.86 — which has sparked concerns over a future wave of infections.
The shots — which use mRNA or protein-based technology — are cleared for over-12s and have emergency use authorization for younger groups. But other countries, like the UK, plan to offer boosters to over-65s only.
Covid boosters are set to be rolled out from mid-September, the CDC says (stock photo)
Vaccine uptake continues to wane in America, amid anti-vaxx conspiracy theories and little sign that further shots will benefit healthy middle-aged adults.
When the vaccines were initially rolled out, tens of millions did not come forward to get the jab.
Uptake dipped further during the first wave of boosters in September 2021 — targeted at the Wuhan strain — and the following winter — with jabs targeted against the then-dominant Omicron variant BA.5 — wth just 17 percent of eligible Americans coming forward to get them.
Officials are expecting further poor uptake of these vaccines this year.
An official at the CDC said: ‘Our goal, our imperative, our task is to make sure we’re using those tools.
‘Vaccination is going to continue to be key this year because immunity wanes and because the Covid-19 virus continues to change.’
The CDC appears to have rolled forward the release of the shots to mid-September, after the new director Mandy Cohen previously said they would be available in early October.
The CDC has set a meeting for September 12 to discuss who will get the updated boosters.
The aim is to get as many Americans as possible boosted before the fall to bolster immunity against the virus.
‘One of the manufacturers have already made it clear that when testing their vaccine against the EG.5 that it looks like the neutralization is robust,’ an FDA official told reporters Thursday.
‘I think it’s too early to know for sure about BA.2.86 in terms of exact data,’ the FDA official said, adding that more information will be available in the coming weeks.
Global and US health chiefs have urged calm over rising Covid cases and new variants, pointing out that virtually everyone now has immunity against the virus.
On Thursday, Dr Marion Koopmans — a virologist who advises the World Health Organization — said the world was now in a ‘different phase’ of the pandemic due to higher levels of immunity from vaccination and previous infection.
And in a press call yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added that America was it is ‘strongest point yet’ against the virus because of this wall of immunity.
There have been heightened concerns in recent weeks after the discovery of the new BA.2.86 variant , which experts previous strains.