An updated COVID-19 shot was approved for use on Tuesday, opening up availability of better protection against infection ahead of the winter season.
An influential advisory panel with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the updated vaccines for people 6 months or older.
The agency's director signed off on the decision later on Tuesday, clearing the way for new vaccines to become available as early as this week.
The latest vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech target more recent variants of the virus.
The Food and Drug Administration gave its approval on Monday. The FDA says those who have received a COVID-19 shot in the last two months will need to wait to get the updated vaccine.
The COVID-19 public health emergency in the U.S. ended earlier this year, but the pandemic has continued. The CDC reports that hospitalizations due to the virus are up 8% in the last week. Deaths from the virus are also up 2% from the previous week, according to the CDC.
While health officials are warning about the rising numbers, they also note that Americans are more prepared to deal with COVID-19. In fact, a study released earlier this year shows that 96% of Americans have some sort of protection from the virus, either from vaccination or previous infection.
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