DORAL, FL – The Food and Drug Administration requested its advisory panel to help them determine whether or not Americans should receive only a once-a-year booster and how and when to periodically update the shot’s recipe.
To tackle the last matter, they voted unanimously that people should get the same vaccine formula whether they’re receiving their initial vaccinations or a booster.Today, people receive one formula based on the original coronavirus strain of 2020 for their first two or three doses, while their latest booster is a combination shot made by Pfizer or Moderna designed against the omicron variant.
The FDA is still due to make a decision about this. “This isn’t only a convenience thing” to ease confusion about different kinds of shots, said Dr. Archana Chatterjee, dean of Chicago Medical School to the AP. Since the original coronavirus strain has disappeared, “moving towards the strains that are circulating is very important.”
To resolve this once and for all, the FDA’s plan is to call its advisory panel for another meeting in late May or early June to decide if the vaccine recipe needs tweaking. Pfizer and Moderna both agreed that would give enough time to produce needed doses by fall while a third manufacturer, Novavax, urged an earlier start to any recipe change.
Regarding making COVID-19 vaccinations yearly, the FDA think most people will be fine with just one shot a year targeted to the newest variants in the fall.
However, more data is needed to determine if certain people such as adults with weakened immune systems and very young children who’ve never been previously vaccinated might need two doses. Specifically, the advisory panel considers its important to know who still gets hospitalized with COVID-19 despite being up-to-date with today’s vaccinations.
It is also not clear if younger healthier people would need COVID-19 vaccinations yearly. COVID-19 vaccines have saved millions of lives and booster doses continue to help the most vulnerable parts of the population even with more contagious variants popping up.
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