PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — All COVID-19 booster shots administered since Sept. 11 should contain the newly approved vaccine designed to better target the latest COVID-19 mutations, including the XBB-based Omicron XBB subvariants, which now account for 95% of infections, health officials say.
Oregon Health Authority spokesperson Afiq Hisham told KOIN 6 News that, on Sept. 11, the federal government formally revoked the bivalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines designed to protect against the original COVID-19 virus and its Omicron variants. The order was issued in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sept. 11 announcement of the new vaccines updated to include a monovalent component that better protects against Omicron variant XBB.1.5.
“As part of today’s actions, the bivalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized for use in the United States,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated in the announcement.
Following the announcement, healthcare providers are required to dispose of all older, deauthorized versions of the vaccine.
“Spoiled, wasted or expired COVID-19 vaccines that were supplied through the federal government’s emergency response to COVID-19 may not be returned,” Hisham said. “Health care settings with these remaining supplies should dispose of them with medical waste according to their organization’s policy.”
Guidelines for vaccine disposal are available on the CDC’s website. With the previous COVID-19 vaccines decommissioned, the new COVID-19 vaccines and an updated version of the seasonal flu vaccine are flowing into the state. However, OHA was unable to say how many doses of the new COVID-19 vaccine were actually sent to Oregon.
“The new COVID-19 vaccines, along with an updated version of the seasonal flu vaccine, are now more widely available at pharmacies and clinics,” Hisham said. “OHA cannot speak to the number of doses arrived in Oregon since the state’s immunization program does not track vaccine supply in the private market. It only follows the amounts received for its providers.”