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US FDA authorizes second Omicron-updated COVID booster for older adults

By Michael Erman and Leroy Leo on April 18, 2023

April 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized a second dose of Omicron-targeting COVID-19 vaccines for older adults as well as those with a weak immune system.

The agency also said the updated shots from Pfizer (PFE.N)-BioNTech (22UAy.DE) and Moderna (MRNA.O) would become the new primary COVID vaccine, and withdrew its emergency-use authorization for the older messenger RNA vaccines that target only the original version of coronavirus.

People aged 65 years and older can now receive a second dose of the updated “bivalent” booster four months after the first, while immunocompromised people can get an additional shot of the updated vaccine after two months, the agency said.

“We’re hoping that it’s going to encourage people who have not received the bivalent booster to go out and consider getting one,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said at a news conference.

Most Americans over the age of 65 had not yet received a bivalent booster, he said.

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