A new Covid vaccine is launching next month amidst rising hospitalizations in the US due to the ‘Eris’ variant of the Omicron coronavirus (COVID) strain.
Healthcare providers and pharmacies are gearing up to provide the updated shot targeting the new variant. However, they’ll need to combat waning concern, vaccine fatigue, and skepticism. Public health officials will need to convince the public that COVID still poses a risk.
Surveys conducted in the US revealed that vaccinated individuals skipped annual shots believing that previous shots or infections made them unnecessary. COVID-19 vaccine makers, like Pfizer and Moderna, have revised expectations for the upcoming fall campaign, with Pfizer even contemplating job cuts.
‘Eris’ is a fresh COVID-19 variant, also known as EG.5, emerging in February 2023. Classified by WHO as a variant of interest, Eris is a subvariant of the Omicron strain. Despite global growth in cases, WHO asserts it poses low public health risk and does not induce more severe disease. While it could evade immunity better, it hasn’t caused more serious illness. The subvariant continues to be monitored worldwide.