FDA will propose annual COVID vaccines, similar to vaccines for flu shot each year for Americans
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday suggested approaching the COVID-19 vaccination similar to the annual influenza shot that many Americans get in order to safeguard against mutations in the virus.
The plan aims to make it easier for any future vaccine efforts.
With this approach, many adults and children will receive an annual shot that protects against the changing virus.
They wouldn’t need to track the number of shots they’ve had or how the number of months from their most recent booster.
In documents published online, FDA scientists say many Americans are now protected by “sufficient already-existing protection” against the coronavirus through vaccination or infection, or any combination of both.
The protection level is likely to be sufficient for the agency to make the transition to an annual booster to protect against the latest strains that are in circulation and make COVID-19 vaccines more similar to the annual flu shot.
FDA proposes annual Covid shot matched to current strains
The discussion on this at FDA’s public panel on Thursday could be VERY interesting.
And @HelenBranswell and I will liveblog. https://t.co/1YxgN6hKjO
— Matthew Herper (@matthewherper) January 23, 2023
This FDA will also require its advisory panel to decide how many vaccines are required to be targeted at similar strains.
The step is required in order to make the shots interchangeable, thereby eliminating the complex system of primary vaccines and boosters.
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The first shots from Pfizer and Moderna are directed at the particular strain of the virus which first surfaced in the year 2020 before spreading across all over the world.
The boosters updated in October were also modified to target relatives of omicrons which had previously been dominant.
In the proposed FDA plan the agency, its manufacturers and independent experts would select each year the strains to target in the beginning of summer, and would have some time to develop and launch the latest shots prior to the beginning of the fall.
This is the exact method employed to select strains that will be used for the annual influenza vaccination.
More than 80 percent in those in U.S. population has had at least one dose of vaccine but less than 16% the people who are eligible have received the most recent boosters approved in August.