CHICAGO — The latest version of the COVID-19 vaccine has cleared a regulatory hurdle and could be going into the arms of Chicagoans by next week.

Thursday the Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, held a virtual press conference to provide information on the updated vaccine and what steps remain before it can be distributed to area residents.

During the presentation Arwady noted more than 95% of all recent COVID-19 cases in Chicago are being caused by the omicron variant, and even more specifically by the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. If the booster is fully approved on the fastest possible timeline, doses could be administered in Chicago as early as Tuesday, September 6. According to Arwady, 1.8 million Chicagoans will be eligible.

Arwady called the new booster a, “big deal,” and said, “this vaccine gives us a chance to try and get ahead of the virus,” leading into the fall and winter months which are more prone to surges of illness.

View her entire presentation in the video above to include reporter questions such as whether enough human trials were performed to confirm the safety of this vaccine version.

On Wednesday the Food and Drug Administration amended emergency use authorizations to include tweaked vaccines by both Pfizer and Moderna which target today’s most common omicron variant strain. Up to this point, vaccines have only been targeting the original coronavirus strain.

An advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will now meet to provide a recommendation on the two new formulas. Once determined, they will need a final approval from the CDC before they can be given as a booster.

Read more on the vaccine requirements, including authorized ages.

Watch Dr. Arwady’s full virtual press conference in the video player below.