US sees a shortage of Moderna Covid-19 boosters

NEW YORK – Some pharmacies are reporting shortages of Moderna’s new bivalent booster shot for Covid-19 as one factory used in producing the vaccine remains offline following a safety inspection.

The US government supply of Moderna’s shot is currently limited, causing appointments for the product to vary across the country, a Walgreens Boots Alliance pharmacy spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Meanwhile, CVS Health says some of its drugstores have used all of the updated shots they received from the government, and the company is trying to get more doses.

Moderna has been coping without one of its vaccine-manufacturing facilities, which has not been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration to make the new booster shots.

“The safety of the American public is our top priority, and the FDA continues to work to ensure that batches of the updated Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, bivalent booster meet our expectations for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality,” the agency said in an emailed statement.

A Moderna spokesman on Tuesday said the company is working closely with the US government to deliver “significant amounts” of updated boosters amid “high demand in certain areas of the country.”

Moderna expects the supply constraints to be resolved in the coming days and says it is still on pace to deliver 70 million doses of its booster by the end of the year.

No more appointments

Local health groups have also limited supply. The Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania, said on its website that clinics have temporarily stopped scheduling appointments for Moderna’s new booster due to production issues. Appointments are expected to reopen when the next shipment of vaccines arrives.

The shortage should be resolved in about two weeks, Arizona’s interim health director Don Herrington said in a blog post this week, citing information that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention provided local health officials.

A spokesman for the CDC referred questions to the Department of Health and Human Services, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New formulations targeting the original coronavirus strain and the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variant started rolling out this month, testing Americans’ demand for another round of shots.

Immunisation rates have declined with every new booster offered. Moderna has estimated that annual US sales of Covid-19 shots could range from US$5 billion to US$13 billion depending on uptake.

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