US: updated Covid-19 boosters from Moderna and Pfizer approved as cases rise - what is the UK's situation?

The jab will be available across the US from next week

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The US Food and Drug Administration has approved new Covid-19 boosters from Pfizer and Moderna

The boosters are designed to target the XBB.1.5 subvariant and are expected to be made available later this week.

On 5 September, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said “updated vaccines…will be available mid-September”.

Health officials say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will sign off on it as US cases of Covid rise. 

The jab will be available across the US from next weekThe jab will be available across the US from next week
The jab will be available across the US from next week

Vaccination remains critical to public health and continued protection against serious consequences of Covid-19, including hospitalization and death,” said Dr Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

“The public can be assured that these updated vaccines have met the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality. We very much encourage those who are eligible to consider getting vaccinated.”

As with earlier vaccinations, the new round of shots are cleared for adults and children as young as age six months.

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York expressed concerns about rising Covid cases on Wednesday.

Governor Hochul reporting from CBS News said: “I know everyone wants to be done with Covid, but Covid is not done with us. 

“Hospitalisations are rising. People have questions about new strains, new variants…And as we are approaching the fall season, you see a pattern, when all respiratory illnesses start to creep up.”

As cases of Covid-19 increase steadily across the US, doctors have warned that Pirola may be cause for concern. It is a newly-designated, highly-mutated variant of Omicron with more than 30 mutations, according to Yale Medicine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said people may experience certain side effects after getting the shot.

These include pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the shot; tiredness; muscle pain; headache; chills; fever; and nausea.

Children may experience different side effects - those aged six months to three years, side effects include pain at the site of the shot, swollen lymph nodes, crying or irritability, sleepiness, and loss of appetite.

For those four to 17 years old, side effects include pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the shot; tiredness; headache; chills; joint or muscle pain; and swollen lymph nodes.

What's the Covid-19 situation in the UK?

Currently, in the UK it is not possible to purchase Covid-19 injections and the official vaccination programme - which has already been brought forward due to fears over a new variant - only allows those over 65 and those who are clinically at risk, to receive vaccinations. This has already started from Monday 11 September. 

Vaccine programmes have already kicked off in Scotland, and Northern Ireland officially starts its programme on Monday 18 September.

People will be contacted by their local GP offices or other NHS organisations to be offered the immunisations.

Symptoms of the BA.2.86 variant closely resemble what we have come to expect with Covid-19 infections over the past three years, and include a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and a sore throat.