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FDA approves updated COVID-19 vaccines as cases rise again

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its approval for new COVID-19 vaccine formulations on Monday, targeting everyone aged 6 months and up, as a measure against a possible surge in infections during the colder months.

These vaccines, produced by pharmaceutical giants Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, are set to become available to the general public upon endorsement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Mandy Cohen.

These new shots, while originally formulated for the XBB.1.5 variant, are expected to offer robust protection against current circulating variants due to their close relation.

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The introduction of these vaccines arrives concurrently with preparations for the upcoming respiratory virus season and serves as an added defense against the likes of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for vulnerable populations.

As the country grapples with vaccine fatigue and shifting views on the pandemic, these newly approved doses are not being branded as boosters, but rather, akin to annual shots like the flu vaccine. Despite this, distribution challenges loom as the responsibility for procurement now lies with healthcare providers, and prices are set to spike to up to $130 per dose.

Nonetheless, a contingency by the Biden administration titled the “Bridge to Access” program assures the uninsured and underinsured access to free shots, albeit with potential availability delays.