Updated COVID-19 boosters will be available in “a few short weeks,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told NBC News on Wednesday.
Jha said everyone over age 12 will likely be eligible for the updated vaccine.
“The bottom line is that this virus has evolved substantially since the first vaccines were built, that is why we have seen waning immunity,” Jha said.
Unlike the original vaccines that came out in late 2020 and early 2021, Jha said the new vaccines offer protection against the omicron variant. Jha said that having two doses of the original vaccine “is not enough.”
“Just like the flu vaccine where people need to get updated once a year, we’ll probably need to get updated for COVID on an ongoing basis,” Jha said.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, over 12,000 Americans died from COVID-19 in July. The virus continues to kill an average of over 400 Americans a day.
Pfizer and Moderna have said that testing shows that their updated vaccines are more effective at preventing COVID-19 infections than their prototype vaccines.
Late last month, the White House announced it purchased 66 million doses of Moderna’s updated vaccine and 105 million doses of Pfizer’s updated vaccine.