CNN – Covid-19 vaccines that have been tweaked to teach the body how to fend off the current crop of circulating variants are now expected to land in drugstores and clinics in mid-September, CDC and FDA officials said.
The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to give its nod to the updated vaccines in a few weeks.
Then the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of independent experts that advises the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on its vaccination decisions, will weigh the safety and effectiveness of the new shots and make recommendations for their use.
After the CDC director signs off on those recommendations, the vaccines can be administered.
Officials said ACIP will meet quickly after the FDA decision in order to expedite the regulatory steps and get the vaccines to market. The advisory group is scheduled to meet to discuss Covid-19 vaccines on September 12, meaning the vaccines could become available soon after.
The announcement comes amid a late summer uptick in Covid-19. The CDC tracks the disease through hospitalizations and emergency room visits, as well as wastewater monitoring and testing of travelers at some airports.
More than 12,600 Americans are hospitalized with Covid-19, and that number is rising, jumping 22% in the most recent week.
Still, the officials said, those are levels that are about one-third of where they were a year ago, largely thanks to immunity from vaccinations and prior infections.
But antibodies against Covid-19 wane over time, and many Americans are due for a tuneup. Only about 17% of those eligible got the bivalent vaccines last fall, the last time the immunizations were updated.
Three vaccines are expected to be available this year. Two are mRNA vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, and a third protein subunit vaccine from Novavax.
The Novavax vaccine uses an older type of technology that contains the spike protein of the virus that causes Covid-19 …