Pfizer submits application for COVID-19 vaccine booster

Pfizer said Monday that it has submitted its application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an updated COVID-19 vaccine targeting the omicron subvariant currently circulating.


What’s to come: The application comes ahead of a fall booster shot campaign. Assuming the FDA signs off, the shots are expected to begin in September.


The application, per instructions previously given by FDA, is for a “bivalent” vaccine that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron currently circulating, as well as the original form of the virus.


The company said that, following FDA guidance, it had submitted clinical data from a slightly different vaccine, targeting the BA.1 strain of omicron, as well as more preliminary data from the BA.4/BA.5 vaccine itself.


The big question: It remains unclear how many people will get the new boosters, despite the potential for a surge of COVID-19 over the fall and winter, given that uptake for the first booster shot has been lagging.


Only about half of people who got the first two shots received the first booster shot, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.