COVID-19 booster shots are getting an upgrade. Federal health officials last week flagged off a long-awaited improved booster by Moderna and Pfizer for people age 12 and older.

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Booster vaccines have been modified to better protect vaccinated people against hospitalization and death from new viral variants

May target COVID-19 strain as well as Omicron BA.5, the dominant variant in the United States

Health officials stressed the timeliness of the updated booster rollout, as people will spend more time gathering indoors in the fall and winter.

Researchers told a CDC advisory panel last week that making new booster shots available in September would have saved thousands of deaths and hospitalizations compared to the November campaign.

Under 12 years old, 12 to 17 years old, 18 to 49 years old, 50 years old and above

Who is eligible for the new booster shot?

Next-Generation COVID-19 Boosters by Pfizer and Moderna are Replacing Original Booster Formula for People 12 Years and Older

The new shots are bivalent, meaning they protect against both the original COVID-19 and the newer Omicron variants, such as the BA.4 and BA.5