"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

CDC approves latest COVID vaccine; shots available this week

This story has been updated.

September 12, 2023 – New COVID-19 vaccines targeting newer variants of the virus will begin arriving in doctor's offices, pharmacies and clinics this week after the CDC gave final approval to the brand new formula today.

On Tuesday, a CDC advisory committee of doctors and nurses voted 13-1 to recommend that every one Americans 6 months and older receive a current COVID-19 vaccine that targets newer variants of the virus. CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, followed suit a couple of hours later and allowed the shots to be administered. Vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have said they’re ready to supply the shots.

“We have more tools than ever to prevent the worst outcomes of COVID-19,” Cohen said in an announcement. “CDC now recommends an updated COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older to better protect you and your loved ones.”

Reports of a mutating virus and COVID hospitalizations of about 17,000 people per week within the United States, in keeping with the health protection agency, led to a 13-1 committee vote. If the CDC intervened, Medicaid, Medicare and personal insurance firms would must cover the fee of the vaccines for gratis to patients.

On Monday, the FDA approved the updated vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech for people 6 months and older. Notice The FDA's approval statement said the new edition of the vaccine higher fights currently circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, and “provides greater protection against the serious consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.”

Tuesday's CDC decision will not authorize the bivalent vaccine approved last fall. Nearly 153 million doses of that vaccine variant have been administered within the U.S. to date, and vaccination rates are actually declining. That concern was raised on the meeting as forecasts suggest hospitalizations are expected to rise again this yr.

“I'm amazed at the number of people who are not vaccinated,” committee member Camille Nelson Kotton, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital's Division of Infectious Diseases, said on the meeting. “We need a general recommendation to give people clarity. Let's keep America strong and healthy and get rid of COVID,” she said before casting her vote.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices discussed current variants and virus lineages, vaccine effectiveness, an “economic analysis of COVID-19 vaccination,” safety, and a program that gives free vaccines to individuals with no or inadequate medical health insurance. According to the meeting agenda, there can even be a public comment period.

Dr. Pablo Sanchez of Ohio State University Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus was against the choice. Sanchez was the just one to vote against mandatory vaccination and advocated focusing vaccination efforts on probably the most vulnerable groups: the elderly, the immunocompromised and pregnant women. “I am not against the vaccinations,” he said, “but I am not in favor of mandatory vaccination this time and would prefer that we wait for more data.”