A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel of experts recommended Tuesday that the updated COVID-19 vaccines be available to nearly all Americans to help combat the spread of the virus heading into fall. But don’t rush to the pharmacy just yet.
The CDC panel’s decision comes a day after the Food and Drug Administration also chose to recommend the new formulation. However, there is one more key step that needs to happen before the vaccines can be administered.
CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen still needs to give the green light, which could happen as soon as Tuesday evening, NBC News reported.
Once that happens, the updated vaccines will be available at local pharmacies and vaccination sites in as soon as 48 hours, according to CNN. One Pfizer official said his company expected to have doses available at some U.S. locations as early as Wednesday.
Both Moderna and Pfizer have updated their vaccine formula to focus on the omicron strain of the virus, whose many subvariants have been dominant in the U.S. since December 2021.
Another vaccine manufacturer, NovaVax, also has an updated option it has created, but it’s still under review by the FDA.
The new vaccines will be available at pharmacies, health centers and some doctor offices. Locations will be listed on the government’s vaccines.gov website. You should be able to get the new dose and a flu shot at the same time.
The CDC panel’s vote was 13 to 1 in favor of recommending the updated booster, CNN reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.