FDA recommends update to COVID vaccine for fall

STORY: A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel on Tuesday (June 29) recommended changes to COVID-19 booster shots to target the Omicron coronavirus variant by the coming fall.

FDA scientists at the meeting suggested the new vaccines should target the currently-dominant BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.

That's as opposed to BA.1 - which led to a massive surge in infections last winter.

Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax have all been testing vaccines that combat BA.1.

Moderna and Pfizer said their updated vaccines generated a better immune response against Omicron - compared to the current shots which were designed for the original virus.

The two companies have also said the new vaccines appear to work against BA.4 and BA.5 - though not as effectively.

Both have said BA.4 and BA.5 vaccines could be ready in October.

While the design of the boosters is still up in the air - a representative for a WHO advisory committee suggested

BA.1-based vaccines could generate a broader immune response because the variant is more distinct from the original virus.

The representative added that it would be difficult to guess what variant might be circulating in the fall.

The FDA plans to decide by early July on what the design of the boosters should be.