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Bivalent COVID-19 shot should become standard, FDA advisers say

Bivalent COVID-19 shots should become the standard form of the vaccine, U.S. advisers said, part of a plan to offer a single booster to the public each year that gives protection against the most recent, dominant strains.

Anyone getting a COVID-19 shot for the first time now receives a vaccine designed in 2020, when the virus looked a lot different than it does today. A panel of 21 advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously Thursday to make bivalent vaccines, designed to fight the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron strains, the primary option.

Bivalent shots made by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. have been shown to fight circulating strains effectively. The FDA doesn’t have to follow the recommendations of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, but it usually does.

This vote paves the way for a plan under which health officials would meet each year to review strains of the virus for inclusion in the shots, just as they do with flu, for use in September. There are more than a dozen different COVID-19 vaccine regimens and immunization schedules in use in the U.S., which leads to complexities in implementation and communication, said David Kaslow, director of the FDA’s office for vaccines research and review.

Healthy adults would receive one COVID-19 shot each fall in the FDA plan, while children, the elderly and those with compromised immunity would receive two doses. Ad-hoc boosters could be used if a particularly vaccine-evasive strain of COVID-19 arises.


—Bloomberg News

Sayfullo Saipov found guilty of murder and terrorism charges for Halloween massacre on NYC bike path

NEW YORK — Sayfullo Saipov dreamed of martyrdom and being greeted by 72 maidens in the afterlife — he’s getting a prison sentence instead.

Saipov was found guilty Thursday of all 28 counts in Manhattan Federal Court of massacring eight people on the Hudson River Park bike path in a Halloween horror nearly five years ago.


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