Pfizer says it has requested emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine that targets the omicron variant.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control will have to sign off on the vaccine before it can be administered.
The shot would be for individuals 12 years and older.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said last week that he expected updated vaccines to be rolled out soon. He added that they are necessary to protect against the changing virus.
“The bottom line is that this virus has evolved substantially since the first vaccines were built, that is why we have seen waning immunity,” Jha said.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, over 12,000 Americans died from COVID-19 in July. The virus continues to kill an average of over 400 Americans a day.
Jha believes COVID-19 isn't going away anytime soon.
“Just like the flu vaccine where people need to get updated once a year, we’ll probably need to get updated for COVID on an ongoing basis,” Jha said.
The U.S. won't just be relying on Pfizer's updated COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna has also developed a vaccine that targets the omicron variant.
The White House says it has purchased 66 million doses of Moderna’s updated vaccine and 105 million doses of Pfizer’s updated vaccine.