New COVID-19 Booster Shots Coming This Fall

Monthly Newsletter

New COVID-19 Booster Shots Coming This Fall

August 2023

As COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations are increasing due to new variants, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the new rollout of updated COVID-19 vaccines to begin in mid-September.

The announcement comes as COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations are increasing throughout the U.S.  Here in California, the COVID-19 positivity rate is 13.2 percent over the past 7 days which is a 2 percent increase from the week prior. In addition, coronavirus-related hospitalizations are on the rise with 2,354 new hospital admissions, a 16.1 percent increase from the week before.

The increase in positivity rates and hospitalizations are due to new variants, XBB.1.5, EG.5 and BA.2.86 that appear more transmissible and better able to evade immunity from previous vaccines or infection, according to the World Health Organization.

Federal health officials say that COVID-19 vaccination is going to continue to be key this year because immunity wanes and because the COVID-19 virus continues to change. They emphasized that vaccines remain the best protection against hospitalization and death. The FDA expects that once available, the updated vaccines will provide similar protection against the most serious outcomes of the disease that may result from currently circulating variants.

Life science innovators like Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax are leading the charge in the fight against coronavirus by developing updated coronavirus vaccines that will target the XBB.1.5 strain in addition to EG.6 and BA.2.86. These companies have been at the forefront of developing life-saving vaccines since the deadly disease emerged in 2020.

The CDC’s committee of outside vaccine experts will meet in mid-September to recommend who should get the updated COVID-19 vaccines. The officials noted that for some people, including older or immunocompromised Americans, more than one shot per year may be needed. Check out this Facebook update from CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen to learn more.

National Immunization Awareness Month

With the new school year upon us and flu season right around the corner, National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is a great time to remind people that getting all recommended vaccines protects against serious illness. This annual observance highlights the importance of vaccinations for people of all ages. The goal of NIAM is to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.

Why are vaccines important? They play a critical role in reducing the spread of, and, in some cases, eliminating the threat of the world’s many devastating infectious diseases like COVID-19. Vaccines are used to boost the body’s immune system and defend itself against diseases such as influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, mumps, measles, chicken pox, shingles, whooping cough, meningitis, smallpox and polio. Most of these infections can cause serious or life-threatening illnesses and may lead to life-long health problems. Because of vaccines, many of these illnesses are now rare.

Due to life science advancements, vaccines can help protect us against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of people have been eliminated primarily due to vaccines. The World Health Organization estimates that immunization currently prevents 3.5-5 million deaths every year and tens of millions of people are alive today because of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The CDC has developed a number of materials to help promote NIAM, including:

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If you have any questions about hosting informational briefings for your colleagues serving in the legislature, contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].