New Moderna vaccine tailored to omicron variant approved in United Kingdom

The vaccine will likely become available in the next month or two.
The vaccine will likely become available in the next month or two. Photo credit Getty Images
By , KCBS Radio

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – Great Britain has become the first country to approve the new Moderna vaccine specifically targeting the omicron variant on Monday.

The vaccine, which will likely start being available in a month or two, should prove effective against the newer subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5 as well, which have been causing surges throughout this summer.

The United States won't be far behind. While initial reports estimated the new version of the vaccine would become available in October, it could be as early as next month, according to Dr. Dean Blumberg, an infectious disease specialist with UC Davis Health on KCBS Radio's "Ask an Expert" with Melissa Culross on Monday.

"I'm not sure about the timeline but I’m sure by October we'll certainly have them," he said. "There may be some glitches on the way there."

The FDA needs to approve them first in order to move the process along. "But it's a really exciting approach to vaccination," said Blumberg.

For those who are over the age of 50 and aren't sure about whether or not they should go ahead and get their second booster now or wait until October, they shouldn't wait.

"That's because the people over 50 years of age, if they've had one booster, that they are four times increased dying from COVID-19 compared to people who’ve had two boosters," he said.

They should get their second booster now and then get the updated one when it's ready. Depending on when they've gotten their second booster, they may have to wait up to eight weeks in between the second booster and the new one.

"We'll have to wait and see what the CDC says," Blumberg said.

For people under the age of 50 who aren’t immunocompromised, they should wait until the new one comes out.

In the meantime, those who've been recently infected with the BA.5 subvariant shouldn’t worry too much about waiting for the new booster to come out. Immunity can extend for some time post-infection, as long as 90 days.

But it's still not known if it's possible to get reinfected with BA.5 after the initial infection sooner than 90 days or not, said Blumberg.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images