Updated COVID-19 Booster Approved

COLUMBIA, S.C. – On Sept. 1, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially approved and recommended the first updated COVID-19 booster vaccinations to better protect against the Omicron variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
The Omicron variant of the virus has been the dominant strain in the United States since late 2021.
The federal recommendation for the updated COVID-19 boosters, which is supported by public health officials at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), is for:
* the Pfizer-BioNTech updated booster for people ages 12 years and older
* the Moderna updated booster vaccine for people ages 18 years and older. The updated COVID-19 boosters contain a component that is the original vaccine formulation and have added Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components that help restore protection and make the vaccines more effective against the Omicron variant and other variants and subvariants.
Prior to Wednesday’s issuance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of an emergency use authorization for the updated booster, DHEC worked with vaccine providers statewide to be ready to order the new vaccine as soon as it was authorized and approved.
Adapting the COVID-19 vaccine to be most effective for the latest variants is very similar to how the flu vaccine is changed every year to match the most common strains of influenza for that year. “We expect the updated COVID-19 boosters to be available at vaccine providers around the state late next week,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director.
“The authorization of these updated booster shots is another example of how science evolves, just as viruses do, to equip us with the most effective means possible for protecting human health. I encourage all South Carolinians to stay current on their recommended COVID-19 vaccinations, and for those who are eligible to receive this safe and effective booster to do so once they’re available in the coming days.”
To find a vaccine provider, visit DHEC’s Vaccine Locator at vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov.

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