All Americans ages 6 months and older will be eligible for updated XBB-strain COVID boosters, if a CDC committee has its way

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All Americans ages 6 months and older will be eligible to receive an updated COVID booster tailored to a newer Omicron strain, if a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee has its way.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted Tuesday 13-1 to approve updated boosters from Moderna, Pfizer, and Novavax for the vast majority of U.S. residents, though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve Novavax’s updated vaccine. The agency authorized such boosters from Moderna and Pfizer on Monday.

The CDC anticipates having adequate supply and shouldn’t need to prioritize certain groups, like the elderly or immunocompromised, for first doses, officials said at a Tuesday committee meeting.

The CDC must now accept or reject the committee’s recommendations. It is expected to accept them, and boosters could be available to the general public by the end of the week.

Updated vaccines tailored to previously dominant strain

New boosters—while expected to provide good protection against currently circulating strains, including “Pirola” BA.2.86—are tailored to the XBB.1.5 “Kraken” strain, which dominated late last year and early this year.

While the majority of circulating strains are members of the XBB viral family, XBB.1.5 itself is almost extinct. It was estimated to be responsible for just 3.1% of U.S. infections 10 days ago, according to the latest variant data the CDC has made available.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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