The Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted 19-2 in favor of including Omicron variants in the COVID booster vaccines for the fall.
The committee does not decide how, and the committee was not asked to vote on which sublineage to add or whether the booster should be monovalent or bivalent, including two strains.
According to the New York Times, the BA.4 and BA.5 variants are responsible for the bulk of new cases—yet half of Americans have not had a booster, said Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), during the meeting.
The FDA expects to provide a comprehensive recommendation this summer and booster deployment this autumn, said Dr. Marks.
The FDA and CDC will need to affirm the decision; they have already all previous VRBPAC COVID-19 vaccination recommendations.
Biopharmas are already developing Omicron-specific boosters
Pfizer’s CEO stated on Sunday that the injections will be available for usage as soon as they are authorized; Moderna said that a booster targeting BA.4 and BA.5 might be available in October or November.
Novavax is also developing an Omicron-specific booster.
Watch the June 28 meeting here: