As the newest COVID-19 variant has started to spread, the FDA has approved two new booster vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna to protect people at the start of the winter season.
The new mRNA boosters have been updated to target the new variant, which is called XBB.1.5 or “Pirola” and is a similar strain of the virus to the Omicron variant.
Although health experts have warned that boosters won’t be enough to stop new infections, based on the testing data, both the Pfizer and Moderna 2023-2024 vaccines can provide some protection and are effective at reducing severe cases of the disease and deaths.
In a statement, the FDA said: “Vaccination remains critical to public health and continued protection against serious consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.
The public can be assured that these updated vaccines have met the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for effectiveness, safety, and manufacturing quality. We very much encourage those who are eligible to consider getting vaccinated.”
The newest versions of the COVID-19 vaccines should have similar side effects for patients. Some of the common side effects include pain or tenderness in the injection site, headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, chills, and fever.
Who should have the vaccine?
The FDA has also released its advice on who should get the new booster and how many doses they need. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are currently approved for adults and children over the age of 12, and can be used in an emergency for children aged six months to 11 years old.
The CDC’s advice is that “Most people ages 6 years and older who are not moderately or severely immunocompromised and have received 1 dose of a bivalent mRNA vaccine do not need any further vaccine doses at this time.
People ages 65 years and older who received 1 dose of a bivalent vaccine have the option to receive 1 additional dose at least 4 months after the first bivalent dose.”
Children over 5 can take one dose of the vaccine as long as it’s been at least two months since the last one and children between six months and four years can receive one dose of the vaccine unless they haven’t been vaccinated before, then they are eligible for two doses.