THURSDAY, Sept. 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) — To keep up with demand for updated booster shots, U.S. health officials are shipping out more batches of the revamped Moderna vaccine to pharmacies across the country.
While supplies of the updated Pfizer booster shot appear to be plentiful, some pharmacies have reported not having enough Moderna vaccine, CNN reported.
Walgreens said its Moderna booster supply was limited, causing appointments to vary. It had Pfizer doses.
“We have received limited supply of the Moderna COVID-19 booster and expect to receive additional supply in the coming weeks. We are actively working to increase inventory of COVID boosters and have sufficient supply of Pfizer updated boosters in all stores,” Rite Aid said earlier this week, CNN reported.
Both of the new boosters were authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this month. However, at that time the FDA was inspecting one facility where the Moderna vaccine is made, so “did not include this facility as an authorized manufacturing facility for the updated COVID-19 vaccine booster at that time,” FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum told CNN.
As a result, only COVID vaccine shots from another Moderna facility were shipped out.
More supplies will now be made available “following a careful review of information provided by Moderna about the manufacture of these batches. The agency has no concerns with the safety, effectiveness or quality of these batches,” Felberbaum said.
The new boosters target both the original coronavirus strain and Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. At the moment, BA.5 accounts for nearly 85% of all U.S. cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although uptake of COVID-19 boosters was low prior to these revamped vaccines, it’s not clear whether the new booster shots will get more people to update their vaccinations, CNN reported.
The U.S. government has not yet released data on the number of people who have received this version of the vaccine so far. Fewer than half of Americans who got their initial vaccines and are eligible for a booster had chosen to get a booster prior to this, CDC data shows.
Public health officials are urging people to get both their COVID booster and their flu shot this fall.
Despite the current shortage, Moderna said it still plans to deliver 70 million doses of its new vaccine by the end of this year.
“We are working closely with [the] U.S. Government to deliver significant amounts of updated, bivalent booster doses as we continue to see high demand in certain areas of the country,” the company told CNN. “We anticipate that these availability constraints will be resolved in the coming days.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 boosters.