Americans age 12 and older could begin getting omicron-specific COVID-19 boosters soon after Labor Day, according to a new report. The New York Times reported Tuesday night that the Biden administration is eager to see regulatory approval of the new boosters as soon as possible. On Tuesday, Moderna Inc.
said it had submitted an emergency-use application to the Food and Drug Administration for its experimental bivalent COVID-19 booster for those 18 and older.
On Monday, Pfizer Inc.
and partner BioNTech SE
had said they had completed the application process for their bivalent booster for those 12 and older. Also see: Pfizer and BioNTech say data show COVID vaccine has more than 70% efficacy in small children, with cases now rising in just 7 states The new shots target not only the original strain of COVID but also the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the omicron variant. BA.5 is currently the dominant subvariant in the U.S. Studies of both boosters indicate they provide better and longer-lasting protection against COVID-19 than current boosters.
The news comes as U.S. known cases of COVID are continuing to ease, although the true tally is likely higher than reported given how many people are testing at home, where the data are not being collected. Cases are currently rising in Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Maine. They are falling everywhere else. Read now: Dr. Fauci’s advice has always been simple and on the mark The daily average for new cases stood at 91,663 on Tuesday, according to a New York Times tracker, down 16% from two weeks ago to the lowest level seen since mid-May. The daily average for hospitalizations was down 8% at 39,680, while the daily average for deaths is down 5% to 465. Coronavirus Update: MarketWatch’s daily roundup has been curating and reporting all the latest developments every weekday since the coronavirus pandemic began Other COVID-19 news you should know about: • China is easing its tight restrictions on visas after it largely suspended issuing them to foreign students and others more than two years ago at the start of the COVID pandemic, the Associated Press reported. The website of the Chinese Embassy in India said the updated procedures would take effect from Wednesday, without mentioning specific requirements for vaccines or proof of a negative virus test. China still requires those arriving from abroad be quarantined at a hotel or private home and proof of a negative test is required for entry to many public and commercial spaces. • Japan said Wednesday it would end a requirement for vaccinated travelers to have a coronavirus test to enter the country, but authorities are still sticking with other restrictions that have negatively impacted tourism, the Washington Post reported. After enacting some of the strictest border measures during the pandemic, Japan has been gradually allowing nonresidents to visit. But tourists are still not allowed in unless they are a part of an authorized tour group, their every move watched by a licensed guide.