New COVID booster vaccines approved by FDA

By Jared Strong, Michigan Advance

Two new COVID-19 vaccine mixtures that are thought to be more effective at preventing serious illness for currently circulating coronavirus variants were approved by federal regulators on Wednesday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized two variations of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines that contain genetic components of omicron subvariants that are currently causing the vast majority of infections in the country.

“The public can be assured that a great deal of care has been taken by the FDA to ensure that these bivalent COVID-19 vaccines meet our rigorous safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality standards for emergency use authorization,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

The Moderna booster dose will be available to vaccinated adults. The Pfizer-BioNTech booster is intended for those 12 years and older.

Michigan currently has an overall vaccination rate (one or more doses) of 68%, putting it in the lower half of state vaccination rates. About 61% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated.

About 75% of the entire United States population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports a total of 2,770.359 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. In total, 38,038 people have died from the virus. However, as home testing has increased during the last year, experts note that some cases are not being recorded.

A version of this story first ran in the Advance’s sister outlet, the Iowa Capital Dispatch. Advance reporter Allison R. Donahue contributed to this story.

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