New COVID-19 Shots
The Food and Drug Administration yesterday approved reformulated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna that target the omicron variant XBB.1.5, which was dominant in June when the FDA selected the vaccine strain. The vaccines will be the first sold commercially, rather than to the federal government.
XBB.1.5 accounts for roughly 3% of new cases in the US (see data). The largest currently circulating variants are EG.5 (22%) and FL.1.5.1 (15%)—both are members of the XBB subvariant family (see overview). The latest vaccines are monovalent, unlike previous boosters, meaning they target a specific variant of the virus rather than both the original and other strains.
Hospitals have seen a rise in new COVID-19-related admissions since July, though the figures remain lower than past peaks. Such hospital admissions rose to 18,871 for the week ending Sept. 2, up 192% from the 6,464 admissions recorded for the week ending July 8. The latest figure is still lower than a year ago when roughly 35,000 new COVID-19-related hospital admissions were recorded. See data here.
An advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to recommend guidance today on who should receive the vaccines.