CDC advisory panel recommends updated COVID-19 boosters targeting omicron subvariants

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Friday, September 2, 2022
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U.S. health officials are preparing to roll out millions of new COVID-19 boosters as health experts grow concerned over a potential viral resurgence in the fall and winter.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The CDC's independent advisory panel voted to recommend updated, COVID-19 boosters Thursday, a day after the FDA authorization.

"There's been a lot of inquiries about it both from people who have already had their series but want the new bivalent one, or have been waiting on this one to come because they heard about it on the news. So we have gotten a number of inquiries. Phones are ringing, and e-mails are excited about it," said Dr. Jennifer Burch, the owner of Central Pharmacy in Durham.

The bivalent boosters target both the original strain and the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron, which have become the dominant strain. The first booster doses were administered last fall, and eligibility for the second booster has been limited.

"Definitely I would be interested in getting it, especially because a lot of people at bigger schools have been getting sick. And obviously parties, homecoming coming up and stuff like that, I wouldn't be able to participate in everything without feeling like I might get sick," said Naliyah Santiago, a sophomore at Shaw University.

"Personally, I would have to do more research myself before I made that decision, but at this point, I'm not really sure," Alaya Mack, a fellow sophomore at Shaw, noted.

According to NCDHHS, of those who have received a vaccine, 60% have received at least one booster, including 89% of people 65 years and older.

Nationally, COVID-19 metrics improved last month, with the seven-day rolling average of new cases dipping by more than 25%. In North Carolina, new COVID cases have dropped for consecutive weeks.

At this point, there is no human clinical trial data available for bivalent boosters with BA.4/BA.5, though there has been testing with other bivalent COVID doses.