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New COVID boosters may be approved by the FDA as early as Friday

Covid Vaccine Booster Shot
Posted at 3:40 PM, Sep 07, 2023

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — The updated booster shot is a monovalent vaccine, so it only targets one strain - the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5. However, this strain is not the dominant strain anymore. It now only causes about 3% of Covid cases in the US. And that’s because the coronavirus is constantly changing.

In fact, we have an 'alphabet soup' of circulating subvariants here in the US, with 31 Omicron lineages currently being tracked by the CDC. Right now, the two dominating subvariants making up 36% of new cases are EG.5 and FL.1.5.1. But the latest variant making headlines is BA.2.86. And while it hasn’t gained much traction here in the US, its large number of mutations has raised alarms.

As concerning as this sounds, there’s good news. The new boosters should still protect against these newer subvariants because they are closely related.

Moderna’s lab results suggest their new booster shot showed an 8.7 to 11-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies against BA.2.86, EG.5, and FL.1.5.1 variants. And Pfizer’s updated booster also showed a strong ability to create antibodies to fight the newer subvariants as well.

Covid hospitalizations have been going up since July. The latest data from the CDC shows hospitalizations went up by 16% in the week ending August 26th. Just over 17,400 people were admitted for complications. On top of that, deaths are also on the rise. Sadly, the number of people dying from COVID went up by nearly 18%.

According to the CDC, they should work well when it comes to preventing severe disease from the circulating variants and also offer extra protection against hospitalization.

As for who can get these new boosters, that's something the CDC will decide. Their advisory committee is scheduled to meet next Tuesday and they’ll recommend who should get the updated booster.

I expect adults 65 and older and people who are immunocompromised to be eligible, as these folks are most at risk. However, I encourage anyone who can get the shot to do so. Even if you don't worry about getting really sick, the vaccine can make your symptoms milder and shorter.

This week on the Dr. Nandi Show

The foods we eat can have a major impact on the way we feel.  In this episode, Dr. Partha Nandi, MD explores how food affects our mood and shares how we can incorporate mood-boosting alternatives into our everyday diet.  Joining Dr. Nandi is a licensed therapist and wellness speaker who talks about the connection between mood disorders and nutrition. Also, a Registered Dietician educates us about the healthy foods we should include in our diet. This episode helps make it easier for everyone to understand how food can affect us.  Tune in on Sunday, September 10th at 1 PM.