A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should get an updated formula for the fall.
The panel voted 19-2 Tuesday that it’s time to update vaccines to provide better protection against the omicron variant of the virus.
But the committee warned that not everyone should get an updated booster, recommending that they should be only for older adults or those with a higher risk of getting the virus.
In recent weeks, Pfizer and Moderna have said that testing shows that their updated vaccines are more effective at preventing COVID-19 infections than their prototype vaccines. The FDA noted that new variants of the virus could develop rapidly, and with each new variant, protection from previous vaccines is less robust.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the two newest omicron cousins, BA.4 and BA.5, now makeup half the COVID cases in the U.S.
The FDA notes that while the original vaccine doesn’t offer as much protection against low-level infections, it remains effective at stopping severe COVID-19 illnesses.
Pfizer and Moderna both said a decision is needed for them to start administering shots by October.