COVID source call-out: When will we get fall boosters?

The CDC expects that our next round of COVID-19 booster shots will be available in early fall, likely late September or early October. But this limited information has been distributed not through formal reports or press releases—rather, through the new CDC director’s media appearances.

These booster shots will be targeted to Omicron XBB.1.5, one of the most recently-circulating subvariants. It’ll be an important immunity upgrade, especially for seniors and other higher-risk people, as the last round of updated vaccines came almost a year ago. Plus, these new boosters are basically the federal government’s one initiative to combat COVID-19 as we head into another inevitable fall and winter of respiratory illness.

Considering the shots’ importance, we have surprisingly little information about when they’ll be available or how they will be distributed. During one media appearance (on NPR’s All Things Considered in early August), CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said that the boosters would be available “probably in the early October time frame.” Then, a week later (on former federal official Andy Slavitt’s podcast), she said boosters would come “by the third or fourth week of September.”

In both interviews, Cohen shared few details beyond this vague timeline. I would love to see more details from the federal government about their plans—for producing the shots, and also for distributing them in our post-federal emergency landscape. It also seems unclear how the CDC and other agencies will promote the boosters, considering how most officials are now pretending COVID-19 is no longer a concern. (Case in point: Cohen’s many mask-less appearances since she started as CDC director.)

One thought on “COVID source call-out: When will we get fall boosters?

Leave a Reply